logo, Jonathan Stone Arts


A sense of interconnectedness is how I define the meaning of life. Yet, with myriad ways to distract, isolate, and intoxicate ourselves it is easy to forget what truly matters: bonding with our fellow human beings. My hope is to remind the viewer that a life without intimacy is unfulfilled. No amount of money, status, or success will ever replace the joy that comes from being seen.

Yet, many people are afraid of true connection because of the fear around making mistakes. What if I say the wrong thing or let someone see that I’m imperfect? Instead of risking that, we hide our true selves or create identities using technology. We no longer have to be vulnerable because you can always create a bigger and better you. However this lack of inauthentic connection is the source of much unhappiness. While showing who we are is scary, it is also just as liberating. In fact, I dare say it is natural.

“My hope is to remind the viewer that a life without intimacy is unfulfilled.”

Jonathan Stone

I am so grateful that I have little fear around making mistakes in art. This is so often also the barrier to creativity because faux pas are wrongly viewed as humiliating. Yet fortunately, like telling someone a secret and developing a friendship because of it beautiful accidents have always positively altered my work. Embracing paint spills and smudges also gave me courage to connect on a deeper level with my subjects. Whatever wall had been built up, came down.

While I have always been a spiritual person, in recent years meditation and mindfulness became a part of my daily route. I love how the practices root me in the present moment. More importantly, they gave me a new life philosophy when it came to painting: to be mindful of myself as well as others. Looking to add a new dynamism to my art I leaned on this mentality: what if I could break the boundary between artist and subject by becoming so present that I felt the other person’s mood? My goal became to make the circle complete by capturing my subjects’ moods and adding in my own emotions by means of bold colors, brushstrokes, and textures. Whether it was an ordinary person posing nude or a dancer brilliant at bodily self-expression I wanted the process to be a collaboration; an equal energetic exchange if you will.

So I started to look at my painting process like water flowing down a mountain stream. In many ways, similar to how nature seems to spring out of nowhere, I started to realize that the work wasn’t all mine. It came from a mysterious place the less I let resistance enter the picture.

The more I allowed my subjects’ sentiments, body language, and even gaze determine the painting the livelier they became. It was proof that slowing down, pausing, and allowing made the other person more comfortable. By just inviting humanity in, it gave back to me. In a non-rational way I could relish in all those nuances that we miss in the rush of everyday life. It was paramount.

Today, my art and spiritual practice are so intertwined that I often ask myself, “Should I paint or meditate today?” My hope is to encourage others to seek out a discipline that similarly grounds them in the present moment with others. In an era of isolation, it’s the anecdote to feeling alone.



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Learn more about Jonathan’s background, artistic methods and inspirations on the biography page. 

garrison tennessee, oil, 30x40"