Seasons - An Exhibition by John Connolly

In this blog we explore what themes run through John's work, what inspires him and why he chooses to use acrylics and mixed media. John's exhibition will be available to view from Friday 6th July to Friday 3rd August.

What is the name of your exhibition? 

‘Seasons'

What medium do you use in your art?  

I use acrylics and mixed media.

What drew you towards using that medium?

I originally worked mainly in water colour and mixed media on paper so it seems a natural progression to develop my work using Acrylic inks and paint which are both water based. I have done some work in Oils but much prefer the quick drying time with acrylics and the versatility of acrylics when working mixed media.

What themes run through your work? What themes are you exploring within this exhibition?

I am a landscape/seascape  artist and am particularly interested in looking at the ever changing  light, colour and textures within the landscape across the seasons. I often paint the same place in different seasons, weather, and lightning conditions. My favourite time of day being very early morning as the sun rises and the world wakes up. Painting at that time is a kind of celebration for being alive to live another day. This exhibition is an eclectic mix of work showing my response to  the ever changing light, colour and textures throughout the seasons.

What inspired you to pursue art and how long have you been doing it? 

I have always drawn and painted since I was very young. When I was 10, my older sister went out with a very young artist, Howards Selina who went on to train at  the Royal Academy of Arts. When I saw his work, I knew I wanted to draw like he did at the time, and I  spent about a year just copying portraits of 'The Beatles’ unlike Howard who would take himself off to Whitby to sell portraits of old fisherman he would draw. 

I trained as an art and drama teacher and always feel that its important that if you are going to teach an arts subject, then you should develop your practice and  work at a professional level. So for many years I worked as an actor with Compact Theatre  while teaching drama and then I started exhibiting my paintings when I taught art from 2002. In 2010 I decided to paint full time in my own purpose built studio in Bolsover.   

What inspires you?

Since the death of my father, 27 years ago, I have felt  the need to create. To leave something , to make my mark. As well as acting, I wrote several plays that were performed throughout the Uk and in The UAE. and when I took up painting seriously in 2002 I began to exhibit my work in Cornwall and then in other galleries throughout the Uk.

The main thing that inspires me is literally 'being alive’ and being able to see and capture  how beautiful the world is. My paintings are a celebration of life and  that beauty and an expression of the feelings I have when out in the landscape whether it be a remote beach looking out to sea,  ancient woodland or bleak moorland landscapes. 

More and more as my work develops, I am more interested in capturing the essence of a place, drawing upon my feelings and emotions rather than painting with topographical accuracy.  

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 Why did you choose West Studios to exhibit your work?

Having started my acting career with Chesterfield Arts Centre Theatre in the late 70’s under the director Jack Blackburn, and then working as director of North East Derbyshire Young Peoples Theatre, NEDYPT for 11 years all based within the college,  it is wonderful to return to West Studios to exhibit my paintings. I am really impressed with how the space has been developed into what I would say is the best exhibition space in Chesterfield and the surrounding area. At the moment  I think its still a hidden gem, but with the the help of Hannah and Joby is becoming more well known and has already given many artists and ‘makers’ the opportunity to share and sell  there work to the wider public. I am really looking forward to showing my work here throughout July 2018 

Hannah Bowdler