John trained as an Art teacher at Doncaster and in Drama at Derby University. After teaching Art and Drama for several years, John became founder member and artistic director of Compact Theatre Company and acted professionally (as Harry Connolly) since 1992.  John divides his time between painting, acting and writing (with a bias towards painting since 2003).  John has written three plays, which have been toured in the UK and in the UAE. 
John also sings with The Shaydes, previously known as Old Spice.  In 2010 John became a full time artist working in his own studio, The Ormscliffe Studio Gallery, in Bolsover.


Artist’s Statement

I have a keen interest in landscape painting, the vast sweeping horizons of the Derbyshire Peak District, the rugged terrain and ever changing light over Cumbria, North Yorkshire Moors and the shorelines of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly all provide me with a rich variety of subject matter.

I work mainly with acrylics, but sometimes mix media using anything and everything to achieve the desired effect.  I use a variety of found materials, making marks and interesting textures with anything at hand. I scratch, scrape and sometimes flick or throw the paint onto the canvas to create runs and dribbles that suggest waves or interesting cloud formations. In some of my larger paintings, I include collaged materials. Beach sand may be used to create an interesting texture in a landscape or to represent itself within a seascape. Dried grass, twigs, leaves and ferns have also been known to appear in my landscape paintings.

In much of my work, I am drawn towards the sea and bleakest parts of Cornwall and the Peak District, making the point of interest the horizon where the contrasts of colour, texture and the ever changing light over water enable me to create work with drama and emotion. Most recently I have started an ongoing project called 'Woodland Light', producing a body of work on The New Forest and Sherwood Forest. 

I rarely include people in my paintings as I hope the observer can experience a feeling of remoteness and sense of place. Where figures do appear, this is usually to provide focus and scale to my work.


John's work has been purchased by collectors in the UK, France, Belgium, Spain, Sweden, Austria, America, Australia, New Zealand, and the Middle East.

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