coppervale (coppervale) wrote,

Jeffrey Catherine Jones

There is a print of a painting by Jeffrey Catherine Jones (who preferred to be called C.J.), in the corner of my private office in the Studio, just above and to the left of the chair.

There is a Jones print on the opposite wall, above my television. There are Jones books on display on the perpendicular outer wall; in the library in the next room; and in the lecture hall.

There are several more Jones prints in the Studio, and in my home. In the Studio stairwell, there is a photo of C.J. with the other members of "The Studio": Barry Windsor-Smith, Berni(e) Wrightson, and Michael Kaluta.

The Studio, where these four incredibly talented artists shared a working space for a brief time, inspired a legacy that shaped my own views of what a creative space should represent. It is the reason why I capitalize "Studio" when speaking of my own workspace. Mike and Bernie became friends of mine; I got to interview Barry, who was, for a time, my largest illustrative influence - but C.J. was, to me, the true Romantic.

C.J. was one of the best painters, ever; one of the most elegant draftspersons, ever. And a very gentle soul who was trying to make her way in the world.

We only met once in person, and in recent years, had corresponded, and become friends. And I will say, to my great relief, that C.J. IS one of those people to whom I expressed my full admiration, and full appreciation for their influence on and in my life. An expression which C.J. gratefully accepted.

Her paintings are human, and beautiful. Her drawings, more so. And I cherish the work that is still here to be emulated, and aspired to.

And right now, I feel a great urgency - an urgency to do more good work, faster; an urgency to tell people close to me how meaningful they are.

I don't recall the exact details of my last exchange with C.J. except that the response was perfect and gracious, and as an artist, I felt as if I had truly been offered a seat at the grownups table; that one of the greatest of the generation before mine was treating me as a colleague, not just a starstruck young hopeful.

I will miss those moments. But I'm glad that I got to have them. And I hope, I know, that C.J. is finally at peace.


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