Scottish artist John Stoa presents a selection of paintings that masterfully capture small moments in life. See more by visiting his website.
I have been interested in art since childhood. After leaving school, I took a career in horticulture, which I found to be very creative. I designed landscapes, woodlands, parks, playing fields and enjoyed planting up shopping precincts, highways and in the autumn planting mass drifts of daffodils and tulips. This career took me all over the UK and lasted 30 years.
While in the West Midlands in Dudley, I joined the local art society. In their annual exhibition, I sold my first painting and got my first red dot. This gave me the motivation to start painting seriously most evenings and weekends.
Sales in local galleries went well. I then started to produce limited edition prints and Christmas cards from my winter landscapes of snow scenes. My horticultural career and hobby as an artist kept me very busy. I was traveling all over the UK selling paintings and prints.
In 1992, while I worked as deputy Manager of Landscape and Forestry in Livingston New Town, the government decided to wind up the New Towns. I got made redundant. That was no problem, as I now became a full-time artist.
Living in Scotland, there is no shortage of great landscapes to capture on canvas. In winter when the snow arrives, I have plenty snow scenes to add variety. My gardening skills gave me plenty of flowers to capture on canvas. In the early years I used oil paints, but later on turned to watercolours and finally acrylics.
Today I mostly use acrylics, as they are fast drying and very forgiving. When a Scottish model figure study never quite worked out, the young lady got buried under a carpet of snow. I created a woodland winter landscape on the canvas instead. Several paintings follow the same path if they just do not impress the viewer.
Many artists find their main topic and continue with variations of their subject. I find beauty in so many different places that I am forever changing topics. As it happens, I often end up with one topic and numerous variations of the same.
My Cape Gooseberry paintings are now on number 15, and my Scottish model Emily gave me so many sexy poses that I had to do a watercolour project of six different poses to find the best one for a large oil painting called Temptation.
My gardening skills keep me in a world of brilliant flower borders full of colour. With my allotment garden, we get plenty fresh fruit and vegetables and cut flowers, and I get fresh air and plenty exercise. The allotment has also provided numerous ideas for interesting paintings with dilapidated sheds, crooked fences, wild flowers and heaps of interesting garden junk.
My neighbor Arthur’s plot was full of pots, boxes, pallets, posts, roof tiles and flowering weeds… sorry, poppies. It may have been an allotment garden disaster, but it was an artists dream. So I have now completed about ten studies of Arthur’s Plot.
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