John trained as an Art teacher at Doncaster and in Drama at Derby University. After teaching Art and Drama for several years, he became a founder member and artistic director for Compact Theatre and acted professionally (as Harry Connolly) since 1992. John divided his time between painting, acting and writing (with a total bias towards painting since 2003). He has written three plays, which have been toured nationally and in the Middle East and also sang with the oldest boy band in the world ‘Old Spice’ who we recently renamed ‘The Shaydes’.
“One of my aims as a performing artist and writer is to make my work accessible to those who do not normally go to the theatre. The plays I have written have all attracted ‘new audiences’ to many theatres both in this country and abroad. One of my aims as a visual artist is to produce contemporary art that can be enjoyed by not just the ‘seasoned art collector’ but anyone who has an appreciation for the aesthetic, hopefully to entice a ‘new audience’ into the often friendly and welcoming atmosphere of the contemporary art gallery.”
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 Pembrokeshire and Cornwall all provide me with a rich variety of subject matter”
I work mainly with acrylics, but sometimes mix media using oils and anything that is permanent, to achieve the desired effect. I use 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 current work, I am drawn towards the sea and bleakest parts of Cornwall, Yorkshire and Derbyshire 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 worked in The New Forest and am currently producing a body of work entitled, ‘Woodland Light” touring from February 2012. 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.