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Nature Boy

Nature Boy

Friends –
This pastel painting is a special gift for a special guy and was a special assignment for me. It was commissioned by Andy Nettle from Moab's famous book store -- Back of Beyond Books (BOBB). The painting was to be used as a birthday gift for Jim Jones. Until today, his birthday party, I have not been able to announce the painting due to this 94-year-old's capabilities with the internet.

Andy has many reasons to care about Jim, who he refers to as the most kind and humble man he knows. This kindness and humility is not something you would necessarily expect from a man who has as many credentials as Jones, including a career in National Park Service with several superintendent positions under his belt, and a record as a WWII Veteran who helped to liberate France. At age 94, he continues to demonstrate his kindness in many ways, including volunteering for the Lions Club and bringing donuts to the bookstore staff each Friday. Jim has a special chair in front of the shop that bears his name, and he sits there most mornings with a cup of coffee and at times a buddy to chat with.

Jim Jones also speaks lovingly of his late wife on a daily basis and is proud of his children and grandchildren. These last facts are actually ones that I witnessed myself.

You see, in order to do a meaningful portrait, I needed to meet Mr. Jones myself. So, Bob and I went over to the bookstore one morning to drink coffee and have a chat with him ourselves. I went inside the shop first and when I came out, Jim and Bob were already having a grand conversation. I pulled up another chair just in time to listen to Jim cite the verse from memory of Nat King Cole's song 'Nature Boy'.

It is a meaningful song for Jim Jones and he and his wife embraced the message, "The greatest thing you ever learn is just to love and be loved in return." As a result of Jim being who he is, he earned the nickname 'Nature Boy' – used by his wife and family.

I needed nothing more, although I am sure there is much more to Nature Boy, Jim Jones. Clearly, he is a special, sensitive, loving, brave and intelligent man. I am so honored to have met him and to have painted his portrait.

If you have a chance… stop by the Back of Beyond Bookstore in the morning and it is likely that Jim Jones will be sitting in front drinking his coffee. If so, don't miss the opportunity to sit down and have a chat with one of the nicest people in the universe.

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