When an image gives us cause to pause from the long scroll of social media, we take note! The soft and ethereal paintings of artist Jonathan Solis do just that. Jonathan’s art stirs something. Besides the obvious aesthetic of his wispy watercolours or the sense of mystery from his sceneries, you can really feel that there is something deeper to his creations. We asked Jonathan to speak a little more about this and his words brought us just as much delight as his art!
I have never before spoken about my art or the thinking behind it, but it was a joy to contemplate and come up with something—I can only hope that this little article is well received.
My goal when painting is usually to bring out a sense of awe and wonder—a little mystery and intrigue. If I paint a place, I want it to be the kind of place you might dream of visiting—or perhaps visit only in dreams—a sort of sacred setting or space where you feel life pause, like a stilling of time; it’s to achieve timelessness and perhaps also a weightlessness of spirit.
Imagine a moment in your life when everything was calm and peaceful. It might have been during childhood or whilst in nature. It may have been while wandering through a forest hearing the echoing sounds of small creatures all about and the laughter of flowing water from a river, or while gazing lazily at the gentle light streaming through the trees and witnessing those teeny-tiny dust particles dancing a seemingly unending dance within the shrine of flickering light from the canopy above. Imagine that sense of grandness, and of how easy things felt. You were very aware, very mindful of the niceness of this time. These moments are like little gems in our stories; they bring us home to ourselves. This “vibe” is essentially what I try to paint.
What I wrote there above is not about grammatical or literary perfection, or an exact kind of observation; our minds have no limit of imagination or possibility, so I paint a sort of ground floor with enough detail that your imagination fills in the rest. The key, I think, is that I want that ground floor to be one of quiet mindfulness—a gentle and really calm moment in which the viewer feels an expanded sense of self. Of course I throw in a bit of details to unfold a sense of whimsical and childlike innocence.
Like any artist I want to have a technically proficient painting, which is probably the most challenging part—and a lifelong journey—but the most important thing is the feeling of gentle peace, like the floating particles I mentioned. It’s not the imagery itself that’s important but the relief it can create by reminding us that we are not these worldly stresses and identities that we associate ourselves with.
I will end off by saying, I am a daily meditator. I have journeyed with and through The Sage Path for many years now and so what I write is a meditative perspective—I don’t know that art can create the inner quiet and fulfilment that we all need but I hope that I can use it to prompt my viewers and myself more and more towards going deeper into a journey of quiet Human Blossoming.