The work of the Impressionists has always held an especially strong attraction for me, and I have tried to bring their approach and principles into my work. My key objective is to use the direct expression of light and color to capture a visual impression of a scene, rather than paint a detailed factual report. Although I focus primarily on landscapes, I find that painting any subject requires this same process of distillation and simplification, which helps me to incorporate those things that reinforce the focus and mood of the painting, and play down or eliminate those that needlessly detract from it.

The scenes I choose to paint are ones that have a strong emotional draw for me, and I hope that I can create a rendition of that scene that makes a viewer feel drawn to it also.

I grew up in rural farm country, and most of my conscious and unconscious memories are linked to that environment. So most times that I am captivated by a scene it is because it resonates deep within that place where I hold an ever present awe and abiding respect for nature. I feel that painting is an effort to achieve visual balance, harmony, rhythm, movement, and excitement, and the natural world is the quintessential embodiment of these principles.

BIOGRAPHY: Shelter Sketchbook

John received a degree in Architecture from the University of Virginia and maintained a residential design practice for more than thirty years. He authored and illustrated Commonsense Architecture, a collection of over 600 original pen-and-ink drawings describing practical folk building ideas from around the world (later revised and republished as A Shelter SketchbookA Shelter Sketchbook, Chelsea Green Press, VT). He taught at the middle school level for several years and continued his involvement in education by founding Children’s Design Collaborative, a program to develop and present hands-on architecture-related projects for K-12 students. He also created an educational card game called ERG: The Energy Resource Game, in which players are prompted to apply an understanding of the pathways connecting energy resources to end uses in and around the home.

John also has done graphic design work, including advertising, identity and promotional materials for clients ranging from small local businesses to Union Carbide Corporation. He has been involved in drawing and illustration for more than thirty years and recently has moved to painting, following a fortuitous encounter with a wonderful painter and teacher from Maine while traveling in Italy. His primary interest now is painting landscapes on site, or en plein air, as well as some still lifes. In addition to many local subjects, John has many paintings from travels in the US, Europe and Asia.


journalThe Japan Recovery Calendar is a CD-size desk calendar illustrated with a dozen of John's sketches depicting various architectural and cultural treasures from throughout calendarJapan. Each illustration in the calendar celebrates a different structure of unique beauty and deep cultural significance in Japan. The images have been selected from among hundreds in a series of sketchjournals created by John as he traveled throughout Japan.

All proceeds from calendar sales are being donated to support recovery efforts in communities devastated by the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan’s Tohoku region.

Calendar price: $20 plus shipping. Orders of 5 or more calendars receive a 10% discount.

Orders can be placed through the website:

Signed prints are also available. Email inquiries to