John was born at Karoonda, SA in 1929 and began drawing as soon as he could hold a pencil. As the son of a railway worker his education took place firstly at Karoonda , then at Port Pirie and finally at Peterborough where he matriculated in 1946.
He was fortunate to have a natural talent for drawing – particularly human faces – and was often in trouble at school for daydreaming and drawing faces in the backs of books or anything else that would accept a quick sketch.
As a child of six years and for most of his school-going life, John spent most of his school holidays with a schoolteacher aunt who lived in Adelaide. She encouraged his drawing skills and regularly took him to the Art Gallery where he was fascinated and inspired by the many large portraits by old masters, and by the Heysen gums and landscapes.
John had no formal art training (other than the usual high school art lessons) and when he left school to earn a living, life as an artist became a lost dream.
The need to draw did not really resurface until he was about 50 years of age when his wife encouraged him to take up painting. The success of his first oil paintings at the local Crystal Brook Show encouraged him to continue and to develop his talents. He diversified to pen drawings and acrylics and now paints exclusively in that medium.
Over the next few years John won numerous awards at exhibitions and art prizes throughout northern South Australia – the most recent being the 2007 and 2010 “Art Prizes” at Peterborough and the 2008 “Country Life/Landscape Art Prize” at Balaklava. He also won the 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 “People’s Choice” at Peterborough and the 2004 “People’s Choice” at Port Pirie – as well as several earlier similar awards at Laura and Gladstone. He has also received several “Highly Commended” awards. In May 2011, his painting “Howzat?” was acquired as part of Kadina’s “Kernewek Lowender” permanent collection. John’s entries in the Doug Moran Portrait Prize have also received favourable criticism.
John has taught painting and drawing to local people for several years, as well as leisure interest courses at Port Pirie TAFE. He currently coaches High School art students with their final year projects. He is regularly commissioned for major portraits and his work is represented in Adelaide Board Rooms, and in America, Canada, England and all mainland Australian States.
Since retiring from business in 1999, John and his wife, Edna, have spent much time in the Flinders Ranges. His current paintings reflect his love of the colours and contours of these ranges and the beauty and character of the indigenous people, birds and animals of the area. In 2003 he joined the prestigious “Painters of the Flinders Ranges” art group and has been Chairman of the group since 2004.