Professor to present book on Cedar City artist Jimmie Jones

Professor James Eton in front of a painting by landscape artist Jimmie Jones. Date unspecified. | Photo courtesy Southern Utah University, St. George News

CEDAR CITY — Author and professor of English James Aton will give a book presentation and signing on his new book, “The Art and Life of Jimmie Jones,” Monday at 6 p.m. in the Gilbert Great Hall of the Hunter Conference Center on campus at Southern Utah University.

Aton said of the book, “Jimmie is the premiere landscaper and master artist of Southern Utah, and through the book I hope to celebrate him and his career.”

Aton worked on the book for almost three years.

Aton’s longtime friendship with Jones began in 1980. In 1983, Aton published an article on Jones and his artwork in “Southwest Magazine.” In 2009, Aton made a film with Jon Smith, Southern Utah University professor of communication, titled “Jimmie Jones: Red Rock Painter,” which they shot at Jones’ home in Rockville.

Aton earned his doctorate in American literature from Ohio University. He teaches classes in writing, mythology, American studies and Continental European literature. He was named SUU Distinguished Educator in 1994 and Outstanding Scholar in 2010.

Aton has twice been a Visiting Fulbright Scholar in American Studies, first in 1989-1990 at Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, and second in 1997-1998 at Sichuan University in Chengdu, Peoples Republic of China.

His monograph, “John Wesley Powell,” appeared as part of the Boise State University’s Western Writers Series. His book with Robert S. McPherson, “River Flowing from the Sunrise: An Environmental History of the Lower San Juan,” was finalist for the 2000 Utah Book Award in non-fiction and was awarded the 2000 Norris and Carol Hundley Award for “best book on any historical subject” from the Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association.

His book with photographer Dan Miller, “The River Knows Everything: Desolation Canyon and the Green,” appeared in May 2009. His book “John Wesley Powell: His Life and Legacy” was published in 2010.

Jones is most known for capturing the essence of the American West and red rock country through his paintings of Zion Canyon (400+ paintings) and the Grand Canyon (100+ paintings). After growing up in Cedar City, Jones attended the Art Center in Los Angeles and later traveled to Mexico to study portrait and figure painting.

Jones made his way back to Utah and fell in love with the landscape. Jones estimated he had created more than 1,400 paintings in the many years he had been working as a full-time artist and has become known as one of the most remarkable painters of the South West.

Jones kicked off the funding process for SUU’s Southern Utah Museum of Art in late 2009 when the renowned painter bequeathed his home and final collection of paintings to the University. Jones’ work will be displayed in SUMA in a permanent gallery.

Event details

  • What: Book presentation and signing, “The Art and Life of Jimmie Jones” by James Aton
  • When: Monday, Nov. 1, 6 p.m.
  • Where: Gilbert Great Hall of the Hunter Conference Center, SUU campus, 351 W. University Blvd., Cedar City

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