John was brought up in Scotland. He studied at the Architectural Association in London, then graduated B.Sc from the University of Edinburgh and Dip.Arch from the Glasgow School of Art. He practised as an Architect at Director level in award-winning design-led practices in UK, Africa, Hong Kong, Brunei and latterly Australia. On retiring in Australia, he and his wife travelled in the outback, a rich seam of cultural and artistic inspiration, before relocating to the UK.
“I have been interested in drawing since my late teens. Over the last 12 years, I have begun to develop this skill and explore other media such as painting and screen-printing. I exhibited with the Scottish Society of Architect Artists from 2007-2012, winning awards three times.
A lot of my work is based on drawing. Growing up, I was encouraged to take science subjects, and it was only in my last year at school I explored different avenues, discovering an interest in Chinese calligraphy and ink-painting which opened a new world to me about line, and drawing, and capturing the essence of a subject with an economy of means. Instead of oceanography, I therefore studied architecture. I travelled a lot, in Africa, the Far East, Borneo and Australia, and gained insight into different cultures and forms of personal expression which informs my work.
I am particularly interested in the character of places and people and animals. This is sometimes related to the “genius loci”, the spirit of the place. I find there are places I return to.
I tend to use pencil or Indian ink. I often start with a drawing and then use water colour, acrylic or oil paint for tone and colour. I’m equally comfortable working in abstract and figurative subjects, which often features landscape, people and animals. I notice a change with my work as it develops to become less dependent on line."