Artist Naomi Jones’ Animal Portraits
By Jessica Novak
NAOMI JONES’ art reflects a contem-porary
WBM april 2020
historic take on portraiture,
though the subjects are animals and
not humans. Classic repetitive floral
motif backgrounds, reminiscent of the
Arts and Crafts movement and William
Morris’s wall patterns, suspend her subjects, making
them vulnerable while they continue to hold their
This is creativity straight from the heart. It protects
the defenseless while showing their value and strength,
bringing them out of the shadows and on our walls.
For a while Naomi worked with her husband, run-ning
a drawer pull and home accessories trading
business. After the birth of her third child, she nurtured
her home and family full time and put her art on hold.
When her children were grown, she began working
again as an art teacher.
“Teaching got me back in touch with making art,
which was really nice, like just making art for art’s sake,”
In being around so many children, she realized she
was surrounded by exposed people.
“It piqued my awareness on that subject,” she says. “I
became very empathetic, almost empathetic to the
point of where it makes you ache. In a lot of ways, the
painting came out of that.”
She was a photographer in art school, but after col-lege
she realized she didn’t want to do that.
“I’ve always loved painting, the act of painting,” she
says. “It’s very satisfying, and it makes me feel that I’m
where I should be and what I want to be doing.”
While no longer a photographer, her works are
painted from photographs and set up in the style of
photographic portraiture. The subject seems aware
that it’s being photographed and appears startled, as if
caught by the camera’s lens, yet wild and untamed in
the artificial background habitat.
“I’m not trying to do an animal in its environment.
I’m painting the animal as if it were an individual being
painted,” she says.
Naomi started painting animals because she felt for
them. At her home in Greensboro, she would see many
rabbits and deer in her backyard.
“I’ve just become so emotionally attached to crea-tures;
I have an affinity for vulnerable ones,” she says.