A Short History …

Jonathan Sanders

b 29/03/1959

Jonathan embarked upon his artistic career in Norfolk after completing a degree in Fine Art. Captivated by the intensity of light and colour of the North Norfolk coast, he became well known for his beautiful interpretations of local beach scenes. Travelling extensively over East Africa he was further motivated to produce some lively and ambitious work, concentrating more on the African figure and experimenting with different styles and mediums. He was influenced by the landscape, people around him and also by native African art. Jonathan stages regular exhibitions in the U.K. and abroad and recently had one of his paintings commissioned by the South African band Ladysmith Black Mambazo for the album cover of In Harmony .

I paint to express my joy of the landscape that I, in that particular moment, have encased myself within.  The memory to me should be indelible not transitory.

I choose to paint Africa for so many reasons.  It is such a difficult country to comprehend, but with my paintbrush I can simplify; momentarily casting all the problems and strife aside and recording the sheer beauty of the place.

Africa intensified my love of the infinite hues of reds, golds and earthy tones. When painting I spend as much time mixing colours as I do in actually applying the paint.  I tend to favour acrylic paints as I find them easy to manipulate and perfect for building up colour and texture.

I begin a piece by working out a monochromatic composition then I apply the colour with a large brush, following instinct.  For inspiration I study sketches and photographs taken mainly from my time in Kenya and Tanzinia.

I listen to music whilst I work, it is a great source of inspiration, so was honoured to be asked to produce paintings for CD Covers of some of my favourite and  best known artists in World Music : Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Felu & Femi Kuti, Selif Keita and Sergio Mendes.  One of my most challenging projects was a portrait of Nelson Mandela for a CD celebrating the 20 year anniversary of his release.

My love of Africa has also naturally led me to sculpt some of its native animals.  Working in three dimensions has made me look at my paintings differently and experiment with new techniques.

I am delighted that after 30 years of painting my prints through Art Group and Ikea have enabled my work to become recognisable and collectable.  Over the next two years I am committed to increasing the number of exhibitions of my original paintings and sculpture and using my work to help the Continent which has been my main inspiration