Michelle Jones’ show It’s Out There will hang in the Lobby Gallery February 2-27, with an artist’s reception February 2, 5-7pm. Her artwork is an eclectic mix of acrylics, watercolors, and pastels.

About her painting, Jones says, “No one comes from the womb holding a paintbrush; we are all taught in one form or another. It may be a high school art teacher, a class at the community college or online videos. Everything I paint is because someone took the time to teach me something.

“Besides one gut-wrenching and fit-throwing watercolor class at the local community college a few summers ago, the first real painting I ever did was at a local art supply business that held those ‘BYOB Paint Nite’ classes. I walked in having never applied acrylic to a canvas and not knowing anyone. A little over a year has passed and I now wake up dreaming about things to paint. Or you can find me walking around town taking odd pictures of bushes and puddles to use to figure out composition and study light play.

“The secret to being able to paint is what Nike tells us: Just Do It. Just go take the class at the South Arkansas Arts Center; show up when someone advertises ‘Date Paint Nite’; sit in your living room with an easel, cheap paint and a thin canvas watching YouTube videos splattering paint all over the floor. You may get yelled at over the last one (acrylic does not come off easily when dried), but the more you paint, the better you will get.

“For the most part, I paint acrylic on canvas. Mixing colors on canvas is extremely satisfying to me. I also enjoy pastels immensely, after a wonderful class that taught me the ‘correct’ way to paint with pastel. Watercolor aggravates me, but I do it anyway. I paint what makes me happy and give away most of my paintings to close friends and family. I may never get rich, but I can say that I do something that truly gives me joy.”

A life-long resident of El Dorado, Jones began painting just over a year ago. For the most part, she is self-taught but leans on the local art community to teach her painting techniques and skills. She is a great believer in utilizing technology to learn and can often be found watching online videos to hone her skills. Married to Nena McGaugh of El Dorado, Michelle is currently a full-time student at South Arkansas Community College and a very busy stay at home dog mom.