Following his long and successful teaching career, from which he retired in 1997, he tutored painting trips to Turkey, Spain and India and conducted numerous group visits to major art galleries and museums in European cities.
In his own work John demonstrated his passion for drawing nurtured at the Byam Shaw School and his work covered a range of subjects including the human figure, portraits and landscapes. In his later life his oils focused on plein air cloudscapes over the Dorset countryside and in Wareham Forest. His watercolours and pastels were carried out in the studio and developed from large, detailed drawings made on the spot at Corfe Castle and elsewhere. This traditional process of working from drawings enabled him to freely develop a series of strongly coloured and dramatic images from the initial study.
We all treasure the notes and drawings John gave us and the projects he set us, always to challenge our perceptions, to make us observe, and to develop our skills and techniques. ‘Get closer to your subject’, ‘turn your painting upside down’, just because it is there doesn’t make it a good composition’, wise words that ring in our ears. He had an encyclopaedic knowledge of artists and always knew where to find a painting by a master in one of the books from his extensive library of art books to demonstrate a concept or technique. We miss him a great deal but will always be grateful for his wonderful legacy.
When we can mount our Dorset Art Weeks Exhibition next year we will be including a small retrospective of some of John’s wonderful art works so that his exceptional talent can be shared.
We were privileged to have John as our mentor, teacher and friend and we all have personal memories of how John helped and supported us as well as his friendship, humour, kindness and his great passion for drawing.
John was born in Buckinghamshire and his early education was at Magdalen College School, Oxford. His art training was through the High Wycombe School of Art, The Byam Shaw and the Royal Academy Schools in London.
His early success as a portrait painter saw work exhibited at the Royal Academy, The Royal Scottish Academy and the Royal Society of Portrait Painters. He also exhibited other subjects at the New English Art Club and the Mall Gallery.
Forest track The Outer Gatehouse from the Keep