James Jones is a British artist and teacher who runs drawing and painting courses in Antwerp, Belgium. Based at the Kasteel Sterckshof set in the beautiful Rivierenhof Park, James teaches using a traditional approach to painting and drawing from life.
Between 2012 and 2017 James trained in Florence, Italy at the Charles H. Cecil Studios. During his time there he also taught and organised full-time and short courses for the Studio. He now teaches using the same approach, known as sight-size; whereby the canvas and subject are placed side-by-side and viewed from a distance. Principally used by portraitists such as John Singer Sargent and Joshua Reynolds its origins lie in the practice of Titian, Van Dyck and Velázquez.
James follows in the atelier tradition, in which an artist opens up their studio to train a select number of students. He offers both a full-time and part-time programme as well as running short courses and weekend classes throughout the year. His studio is based in the historic Kasteel Sterckshof just outside the centre of Antwerp. In the castle, numbers are limited to six students per room, giving them each the space they need. James works alongside his students so they learn from both his example and the ongoing individual critiques.
The approach James uses in his studio is based on a historical method known today as ‘sight-size’. It forms the basis of training the students to see and has traditionally been used by portrait painters since the 17th century. Students begin with drawing; gaining a knowledge of scale, form, and value before moving to pastel and oil to develop an understanding of colour.