Dancing for Peace in Burundi, Africa 2011 (48 x 30 in.) 
Accepted into Artbella

Burano island (Venice Italy)
Accepted into Artbella


Rita Ford Jones

Rita Ford Jones was born in 1937 in an orange orchard, in Buena Park, California. The Family moved to Imperial Valley where Rita was surrounded by raw desert and purple hazed mountains in the distance. A horse, cow, collie dog, cat and numerous chickens, turkeys, and wild ducks were part of the farm life that Rita enjoyed while growing up. Her high school art teacher, Mrs. Jernigan, had the most influence on Rita's thinking and knowledge in regards to artwork. Professor Jim Grubola at the University of Louisville recognized the influence of William Stanley Hayter in Rita's spontaneous style of quick drawing. Rita used the scribble technique to begin her abstract drawings and intaglio etchings. Mr. Hayter taught at the Chicago Art Institute about the same time Mrs. Jernigan was a student there.While in high school, the Sun Flower painting by Vincent Van Gogh sold for a million dollars. That made quite a stir in the art world in the 1950s. The free movement of strokes and bright colors in Van Gogh's paintings helped create a love for unusual color combinations. 

While attending Indiania University, some of her professors were Jonnas Howard, Brian Jones, Susan Moffitt Mathias, and John Gunthur.  After Graduation from Indiana University Southeast where she won many awards with her Intaglio Etchings, Rita was accepted into a masters degree program at the University of Louisville.   John Whitesell was her advisor, and her print making instructor. Taking Drawing classes with Jim Grubola was a high light in her studies. The University of Louisville offered a four-week Foreign Studies program at the University of Perugia in Italy during the summer of 1986. A photography class under Professor Don Anderson prepared Rita for the first of  her eight trips to Italy.  These trips included a stay in Venice every time. Staying there mostly alone for two weeks at a time, really allowed Venice to become a familiar place.   The colors of the antique buildings everywhere in Italy were exciting and a love for all things Italian had begun.  Venice was a dream come true.   The colors of the buildings were reflected in the waters flowing like sidewalks between the buildings. Broken plaster chunks exposed the history of the different colors used in past restorations. These exposed pieces became "abstractions in shapes and colors". This was the theme of my thesis and art show for my Masters Degree from the University of Louisville.

My days were filled with walking and filling my sketchbooks with pen and ink drawings and watercolors. The drawings were supplimented by thousands of photographs.  Travels in Italy, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Egypt, Israel, Greece and Crete were also part of her travels.    An overnight stay in beautiful England, did not create a desire to return there.  The U of L program also included four weeks in Paris, France in 1989. Drawing and painting all over Paris filled several of her sketch books as well as many small watercolor sketches. 

Museums and Galleries were  a major part of her life as a child and in her travels.  Favorite Workshops after graduation were taught by Daniel Greene, Judi Betts,  and John Michael Carter.    Doing artwork in several different media and with many different artists has been her life-long passion. Rita's mother always drew things and her dad took her to museums in Los Angeles and San Diego as a young child

                      There is so much that artists learn and grow from and art, in its many forms, has definitely been a major part of Rita's life.