Artist’s Statement

Why I paint-inspiration and subject

John in studio

Credit: Jacqueline Turpin

I’m inspired to paint by nature’s beauty and ever-changing face. It may be a dramatically lit landscape-sometimes given scale and interest by farm houses and barns, seasonal characteristics and colours, or intriguing patterns that evoke intense feelings of awe and a desire to capture the moment on canvas. I know I have been successful when the finished painting rekindles my initial feelings. The pleasure of that initial contact with something special in nature is capped when those viewing the painting are attracted by what inspired me to create it. To achieve that emotional connection within the limits of a two-dimensional canvas, I strive to maintain interest by encouraging viewers to wander through the scene, linger, and experience the recreated moment.


My paintings are generally representational with a high degree of personal expression. At times, they may be somewhat impressionistic. With a strong emphasis on design, form, and colour, I use natural shapes, dramatic light and shadow, cool and warm colours that may be intense or subdued, and strong modelling to achieve depth and effect. I use the highest value contrast to focus attention on the centre of interest, and dynamic transitions to sustain engagement with the painting.

Aesthetic emphasis

Behind car

En plein air

My goal is to capture a sense of place, and I am influenced greatly by the emotion that can be inspired by nature’s beauty and power. Viewers may be taken on a journey through the drama and colour of the Canadian seasons, magnificent Gatineau Park, or the Petite Rivière Rouge and Charlevoix areas of Québec. Some paintings present vignettes in Ottawa-Carleton or images enjoyed on travel in the Maritimes, New England, or Europe. I’m intrigued by light and shadow weaving through trees, and the rolling contours of waterfalls and rapids. Recently, I have been creating large oil canvases of stone terraces, flower-filled gardens, farm porches, and scenes of yesteryear. In contrast, I have also had an enthusiastic response to my oil miniatures.


I paint mainly in oils, using techniques that yield identifiable brush strokes characterized by wet-in-wet, wet-on-dry, hard and soft edges, glazing, and both transparent and opaque paints. I use strong design and dynamic transitions, and sometimes interpret the landscape’s power by dramatizing the intensity, temperature, and value of colours.