John Thornton Exhibition

16th March - 12th May 2019

John Thornton was born in York in 1944. At the age of 22 he moved to Cornwall as part of the hippy movement and lived in the sand dunes for the summers of ’67 and ’68. In 1969 he moved to London for a further 5 years. On leaving London he moved back to Cornwall for 2 years then returned to Yorkshire where he has been ever since.

Working with wood for a living, which involved carving rocking horses, repairing and making oak furniture, there was constantly an opportunity to create, and so painting seemed a natural progression. Possessing a love of the sea this appeared the perfect subject matter, constantly changing in nature and mood providing an endless template with which to work. More recently he has been drawn to the textures, shapes and colours of the surrounding landscapes, fields and hedgerows along the coast, rivers and streams.

Painting in mixed media he often uses acrylic, watercolour, gouache and ink within the same painting, allowing the materials to run and bleed into each other, with the addition of collage, materials collected whilst walking or beachcombing, to create the added texture. He uses photos that have been taken, although never copied exactly, but used as a reference, particularly, to observe the effects of light on water.  John says that painting is not only a pleasure but a challenge to create a piece that reflects and encapsulates the essence of a subject. If people can sense and appreciate these aspects of his work he feels he has, in part, achieved his intentions.


“This is my first solo exhibition for five years so I have tried to incorporate all of my favourite subjects into the paintings; sea, woods, hedges, streams…..the things that many of us walk or drive past every day. When out on my walks or beach-combing, I like to collect interesting objects, sand and materials that I use for collage on my paintings. I have also included in this exhibition several bird and fish sculptures carved from driftwood and utilising found metal.

I hope I have managed to capture and convey the beauty and essence of my chosen subjects. I am really looking forward to the exhibition and hope that you enjoy it…”

John Thornton