The process of a lifelong love of art began for Jona the moment she could make marks on paper. Yet, it was her time in Gallup, New Mexico, that made her think that art was more than mark making. Having moved often during her younger years, she learned adaptability and was exposed to a variety of beliefs and cultures. In Gallup, however, she saw and experienced deeply entrenched values and traditions in the lifestyle, architecture, and art, around her. These and other experiences created a strong need within Jona, to live unencumbered by group beliefs and to explore freely, where her curiosity led … especially where mind and spirit were concerned. In the mid-1980s, Jona’s curiosity led to art classes at UNM in Gallup, New Mexico. There, working from antique postcards and photographs, she painted watercolor portraits of Native Americans and became interested in Zuni pottery designs. (Zuni symbols continue to appear in her work today.) Jona’s focus shifted, a few years later, with the birth of her daughter. She nurtured her daughter in the performing arts and, as the child grew to become an accomplished dancer, Jona’s paintings reflected her exploration of the fluidity and movement in dance. By late 2011 Jona’s art was freer and more intuitive, heading into abstraction, a genre through which she could readily express her love of movement, music, color, and the cosmos. There is a Japanese word, “Yugen”, which is also said to mean “a profound, mysterious sense of the beauty of the universe, and the sad beauty of human suffering”. Jona credits this emotion for the yearning for exploration and the awestruck admiration of all that is seen and unseen. This emotion is visible in the unforeseen and fascinating space-scapes that evolve from intuitive applications of vibrant color within her artwork. Jona’s explorations led her to study with painter Cody Hooper and to attend the Artful Living/Living Artfully seminars of choreographer Loren Fletcher. The impact of these mentors is apparent, respectively, in her technique and confidence. In 2013, Jona Lou Batt was honored as the NM State Fair Blue Ribbon award winner in the Oils and Acrylics division.
- Kirby Heyborne
- Kurt Thomas