Artist John Metcalfe plays with light and color to create paintings that dance with energy. We spoke with him about being a full-time painter.
ABI: You have an interesting story about beginning your work as an artist. Could you share it?
JM: It was the joy of buying and living with artwork that inspired me to explore a creative path. I loved looking at and studying the techniques I saw presented in all types of painting. With a background in architectural and mechanical drafting, I had already developed an eye for line and perspective. So exploring color and composition wasn’t such a giant leap in my mind, it was just a matter of going for it to see what happened!
ABI: How has your signature style evolved over time?
JM: Luckily other artists liked what I was doing right away and they all encouraged me to push myself and take my art to another level – admittedly pointing me in the right direction from time to time. The “ah-ha” moment was the idea that we paint light, not an object or vista. This made me think further about how we actually see light and color, and how our mind can piece together fragments really to form an image.
This in itself describes my signature style. I learned to reduce elements of the composition to just the information necessary to depict light and create movement. I intuitively seek to mix unconventional color combinations and techniques that provide just enough information to form that image. As a lifelong resident of Florida, I have always been fascinated by the play of tropical light on the land and water. It is my muse and a constant source of inspiration.
ABI: How do you currently sell your work?
JM: My art is available at my gallery in Havana, Florida, the lovely art, antique, and design center of the Big Bend. In October, 2015 I completely revamped my own website, and I have also been juried and accepted to many artist websites, such as ArtSpecifier.com, ArtfulHome.com, and AbsoluteArts.com. I have had great acceptance at Florida art festivals in Estero, Ft Lauderdale, St Petersburg, Manatee County, Sarasota, St Augustine, and at the LeMoyne Art Center’s Art in the Park ini Tallahassee Florida! I have also been accepted to Gallery Shows in Quincy, FL, Tallahassee, FL, Thomasville, GA, and Sarasota, FL.
ABI: What response have you gotten from collectors and the public?
JM: Wow, it’s so awesome that collectors, artists, and academics are drawn to my work. Over 500 paintings in my first ten years have gone to private and corporate collections. The black heritage museum in Quincy Fl asked for and has three works in their permanent collection. An admirer in the gallery said that he could see my art anywhere in the world and know it was mine, which was very heartwarming.
I’ve also been described as the son Monet and Pollock would have had! What has made my art so successful I really don’t know. My observation is that generally my work just makes people happy. It has been great to bring a few more smiles into the world.