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 of Compact Theatre and acted professionally (as Harry Connolly) since 1992.
He divided his time between painting, acting and writing with a bias towards painting since 2003.
“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 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. 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.”