John Waterhouse Giclee Print on Paper
Born in 1967, John Waterhouse is acknowledged as one of Britain’s most talented and versatile oil painters. His highly acclaimed paintings range from mountains shrouded in mist to exquisitely portrayed female figures and reflect his passion for the beauty he sees in people, places and objects. Over the last 10 years he has established a reputation as an artist of substance and his work is becoming increasingly collectable.
From an early age John had always been interested in art, gaining inspiration and encouragement from his parents, especially his mother, who had drawn and painted a little herself as a hobby.
Growing up in a rural Staffordshire village helped John Waterhouse to understand the beauty of the countryside, which he still feesl so important in order to portray its true character. Being close to the subject matter is of great advantage to him for the constant reference he needs to support his work.
In 1983 at the age of sixteen, he left school gaining a grade A in ‘O’ level art and winning the overall school prize for best art pupil. Upon leaving school he worked as a storekeeper in a local warehouse, painting only as a hobby in his spare time. In order to give himself more time to develop his artistic skills he decided to give up full-time work in 1994 and take up a part-time position instead.
He gave up the part-time position in 2000 in order to teach painting two days a week to young offenders in a local youth prison, reducing this to one day a week as the demand for his work increased. He found working with these young people very rewarding, as there is so much talent that would normally be unrecognised.
Although he was initially concerned about giving up his so-called ‘proper’ jobs, he finally got the confidence to turn to painting as a full-time position after seeing the quality and value of his work rise through doing various commissions for art collectors.
His creative process is painstaking and meticulous, as he explains: “Before I start any painting I have to feel confident about the composition and balance of the picture, sometimes spending days or even weeks producing sketches and collecting reference material in the form of photographs as well as using my memory. This may even involve producing a very detailed scale drawing and watercolour sketches. I then proceed with the painting, working mainly in oil. I can usually cover the whole canvas or panel in one or two days, showing the basic composition. The painting is then left to dry. The following stages of the painting, involve adding atmosphere and detail. On very fine paintings, this may involve many weeks of work using a variety of different brushes. When I feel that I have completed a picture, it is put to one side and out of sight. Then a week or so later I will look at it again. The reason for doing this is to detach myself from the picture, so that when I next see it, I get a fresh look at the impact and atmosphere. This will be my final stage of the painting, before making any minor adjustments, resulting in the final image that I am happy with.”
When painting a landscape, a lot of the information is there, but more often than not John feels compelled to add or change something slightly – a cloud formation, a distant figure, or perhaps the way the light is falling. “With landscapes I feel it is not so much an idea, but an ability to balance and compose what is already there. I find the English countryside very romantic. Fields and trees to me have their own character and history, just as a person does. By taking plenty of time to study the view that I am about to paint, helps me to decide the areas that require toning down and the areas that need to be made more vivid, if any, in order to emphasise its character.”