Although always inclined towards painting, on leaving school he started to train as an accountant. An offer to play football professionally soon diverted him and he spent some time playing for Torquay before turning to painting full-time.
Totally self-taught, on his first meeting with Sally Mitchell he said he had been to art school. On his second meeting in the presence of his wife, Sally asked which art school he had been to. His wife exclaimed, ‘Oh, John, you didn’t say you’d been to art school, you were only there for a morning, you left at lunchtime!’
Despite having to learn the hard way with no help, he was soon painting very acceptable paintings and has now established himself as a very fine all-round artist, equally at home painting animal portraits, birds, the sea or landscapes and genre pictures.
The Shooting Times acclaimed him ‘The Greatest Painter of Black Labradors in England if not the world’ in a two-page article about him.
It was with a Black Labrador painting that he won the Silver Award at the International Animal Painters Exhibition in France in 1992.
He has had a number of one-man exhibitions in London, Norfolk and Scotland. His work has been exhibited all over the world and one of his paintings appeared on the cover of a publication called ‘Welcome to Louisville’ in Louisville, Kentucky, where his work was featured in a major dog exhibition to coincide with the Lexington Kentucky Dog Show. His work has also been exhibited in Tokyo, Stockholm, Verona, Dublin and New York.
There have been many limited editions printed after his work and a lot of these have sold out and command secondary market prices.