Painting and music have been competing but now increasingly complimentary passions in John Donaldson’s life. Although drawn by the emotional potential of music, John chose to make his living as a painter. Over forty years his colourful, figurative work has lent more and more towards Impressionism – an art movement that he feels is far from exhausted even after the passing of more than a century.
Today he directs his impressionist tendencies to the portrayal of fleeting light and weather effects. This, together with a general desire for greater spontaneity has meant that he has started to move away from the larger studio pieces towards smaller, more expressive works. He says, “Over the years, my sketches, studies and field work in general have become more ‘abstract’ in appearance. I suppose the more intuitive and personal marks made at the time helped me to remember not just the details of the subject but the feelings evoked by it.”
John’s subjects have ranged from his early years’ painting on the South Downs, the Ouse Valley and the streets of Lewes – via London’s Thames, Cornwall, Devon and Dorset – to a more recent preoccupation with the Midi of France, Brittany, the Cote d’Azur and the Italian Riviera. He says, “I have a list of images yet to paint, as well as themes to revisit, enough to last a lifetime. Another lifetime.”