John was born in Canada in 1944, the son of a serviceman (RAF) and travelled widely as a youth. He has been a self-taught, part-time painter since the age of twelve and although he joined the RAF at the age of 17 to become an aircraft technician, very quickly realised his preference for making images rather than 'connecting up generators and explosive cockpit bolts'. For the last 5 years of his RAF career he was ‘misemployed’ as an exhibition graphic artist, preparing panels for RAF recruiting exhibitions.
On leaving the RAF John joined the Civil Service as an Illustrator, then Graphic Designer followed by Exhibition Designer, for the Ministry of Defence. He subsequently moved to the Nature Conservancy Council (later renamed English Nature), as a publisher and Marketing Manager and latterly as a natural heritage interpreter and arts developer. John is now retired from the Civil Service and works full-time as a painter.
Apart from one or two nights a week working with the London artist Kristin Berge in the years '66 to '71, John is self-taught. The emphasis in his early years was on non-figurative work concerned with approaching the enormous realities through the immensity of meaning in the small.
However it was not long before he returned to his original interest of his early teen years, that of the English countryside and nature. Since the early eighties John has concentrated on dealing with his response to the landscape, its natural features and botanical form. He works in many mediums and experiments constantly on new ways of rendering his personal vision.
"My vision concerns the merging of observation and intuition born of years of application, imagination and deep reflection on nature. Nature provides the inspiration and starting point of the images, which vary from close-up floral forms to wider scoped natural features seen in the countryside. Light, texture and colour are significant characteristics of the work, which is intended to invoke feelings of mystery, awe and wonder at the infinite variety of shape, colour and meaningful symbolism.
Nature and natural form have long been the primary sources for my paintings. By means of observation and intuition coupled with imagination and continuing experimentation I have, over the years, produced a diverse mix of imagery employing the textures of trees, grasses and water, flowers and other botanical forms.
These contemporary paintings of nature in art include images of trees, flowers and birds as symbols of magic and spirituality in the English countryside and garden.
I live at the edge of the Fens in south Lincolnshire. These flatlands are characterised by big skies and a multi-coloured landscape of intensively farmed fields bounded by deep ditches and channeled rivers trimmed with blood-red poppies and pink campions, reed mace and bindweed, along the high banks and low washes.
To the west of me are the slopes of a limestone escarpment quite different in character to the Fens. Here are stone-built towns and villages with histories going back millennia, where the spirit of place is imbued with the lives of the Celts, Romans, Saxons and all who came after. They are still with us, in the landscape, the hedges and fields and those sacred sites now surmounted by Christian churches in proud defiance of a pagan past.
It is this sense of history, spirit and place that informs most of what I paint."