John Visser

 

About The Artist

My love of painting began in my teens with both school and private art classes that were taught by local artists. Following Secondary School I entered the Illustration program at Sheridan College. After graduating, I worked as a freelance Illustrator and in the graphic design and printing industry.

Painting in oils has always been my first preference. When I was at Sheridan, we were taught to use different media, but coming back to oils always felt like coming home. I love the way the paint goes down and the richness of colour. The slow drying time makes it easy to go back and work in subtle tone and layers of colour.

My passion for painting landscapes stems from a simple desire to evoke the sense of serenity and beauty that nature instills in me. Rural and wild places are cherished as they induce a meditative calm, a removal from the distractions of everyday life.

What catches my interest is the unfolding drama of light and shadow in combination with the graphic, abstract qualities the landscape can possess. My inspiration comes from the timeless, enduring, yet ever changing qualities of the land.

In my paintings I attempt to express my sense of wonder at how changing light can transform the seemingly mundane into the extraordinary. My painting is above all an exercise in trying to look at the world with fresh eyes and, hopefully, a unique perspective.

I paint partly because I love the intensity I feel during the process. Painting totally takes me out of myself and into what I'm doing. I like the way painting has sharpened the way I look at the world in my day-to-day life. I find I'm more observant and aware of everything around me. I'm constantly assessing and analyzing colour, light and form. I find it very enriching to be more aware of the beauty all around.

My interest in photography is also a very enjoyable part of the process for me. Getting out into the country or the woods and finding scenes that inspire me and then capturing that in a photo really gets the creative process going. I usually can't wait to get back to my studio to try and capture the essence of the place on canvas. I like to do some sketching on site if possible and take several photos for reference. They act as a jumping off point for the painting and help jog my visual memory as to what was special about the scene.

My background in design has had a huge influence on my work. I try to look past or through the details to the simple basic shapes and spaces and how they interact. This hopefully leads to interesting and harmonious compositions.

I have special admiration for the Impressionist painters Monet and Sisley because of the way they captured such wonderful light effects on canvas. Cezanne is another favourite of mine. I love the feeling of solidity in his work and the way some of his landscapes have an almost abstract quality to them. I also love the textural quality in Van Gogh's work. I think the Group of Seven painters have also had an influence on my work. I especially love the work of Tom Thomson. His landscapes have a wonderful abstract and textural quality to them that I really admire.

I work and live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and the inspiration for my work comes from my frequent trips all around Ontario, the rest of Canada and the world.