John is a towering figure in contemporary British art. Working in oil on paper or canvas, John’s vigorous application of paint in carefree, seemingly random strokes breathes life into his work, which contrasts the rugged scenery of the Scottish Highlands with the more prosaic human elements of crofts, inlets and villages. His painterly style and bold use of colour adds an energy and intensity to each image which persuades us not simply to view the landscape, but rather to experience it. In November 2008, John was presented with an Honorary Doctorate from the University of the West of Scotland and in November 2009 he received an Honorary Doctorate of Arts from Abertay Dundee University, for “A significant contribution to Scottish culture”. In the 2011 New Year’s Honours List John received an OBE for services to art and to charity in Scotland.
He has exhibited all over the world and his work is in private collections of many famous faces including Sting and Madonna. His spectacular career has been captured in the films ‘I Know Where I am Going’ by Mitchell McGlone and the BBC’s ‘The Man With the Golden Brush’ as well as in the books ‘The Colour of Life’ and ‘Jolomo – Retrospective.’ In the sumer of 2013, there was a major Retrospective of John’s work in the refurbished Clydebank Museum & Art Gallery. A total of 150 works were on view covering John’s earliest work at the age of three right up to date. The Retrospective exhibtion proved immensely successful attracting over 20,000 visitors as well as a full programme of school visits. Born in Glasgow in 1948, John pursued a successful career in art education for 25 years rising to Principal Teacher of Art at Lochgilphead High School and Art Adviser to Strathclyde Region. Giving up his teaching career to paint full time in 1997, he has become one of the most eminent landscape artists in Europe.
John donates a percentage of his sales to charity and makes significant donations of art work to charity each year. In 2012, John and his wife Maureen were invited by HRH, The Princess Royal, to become Vice Presidents of Carers Trust, formerly The Princess Royal Trust for Carers. Through The Foundation, the Jolomo Awards were launched in 2006 and by 2010 had become the largest privately funded Arts Award in the UK with first prize of £25,000 plus £10,000 for shortlisted artists.