John Sprakes

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John Sprakes ROI RBA

The movement of light and colour across landscape and interiors is a constant source of inspiration to John. Composition, form and texture play an important in the construction of his paintings. John feels that creating the illusion of three-dimensional space on two-dimensional surfaces produces the kind of visual magic that enables the spectator to experience a new way of seeing.

Method of Working

Most of John’s painting are taken from life. He uses drawing as an act of discovery, allowing him to explore the visual world. Drawing is the starting point for most of his ideas. The landscapes of Norfolk, Suffolk and Northumberland are a constant source of inspiration to him. Wide expanses and the intense light found along these coastlines evoke emotions that inhabit his paintings. He is transported into a world of light and colour which is often intense, full of mystery and peaceful isolation. His still life paintings draw upon memories that are historical, social, and of childhood days distilled together in the final image. John is interested in the way objects interact presenting a past, present and future. Their incongruous juxtaposition adds a visual tension to the overall image. John uses acrylics, Liquitex, canvas, board, paper, card, brush, palette knife, drawing media of all kinds, photography and colourful gesso grounds. He works mainly from life but sometimes uses photography for information and investigation. John tends to plan paintings using sketched studies done on the spot, but also works directly from nature. His still life paintings and interiors are painted in his studio.

Biographical Details

  • 1952-54 Doncaster College of Art
  • 1954-57 Edinburgh College of Art
  • 1984 Elected member of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters
  • 1986 Elected member of the Royal Society of British Artists
  • 1989 Elected member of the Manchester Academy of Fine Arts

Society Memberships

  • Royal Institute of Oil Painters
  • Royal Society of British Artists

Other Society Memberships

  • Manchester Academy of Fine Arts

Scholarships, Awards, Prizes

  • Andrew Grant Scholarship
  • Postgraduate Scholarship
  • The Le Clerc Fowle Medal
  • Manchester Academy Prize
  • Singer Friedlander Watercolour £5000 Prize Winner
  • P&P Award, Manchester Academy
  • Barclays Bank Award, Manchester Academy (x2)
  • Menena Joy Schwabe Memorial Award, Royal Institute of Oil Painters
  • DAS Award, Royal Institute of Oil Painters

Exhibitions

  • Royal Institute of Oil Painters Annual Exhibition 2017
  • Royal Institute of Oil Painters Annual Exhibition 2016
  • Royal Society of British Artists Annual Exhibition 2016
  • Royal Institute of Oil Painters Annual Exhibition 2015
  • Royal Society of British Artists Annual Exhibition 2015
  • TOURING EXHIBITION Still Alive: The Contemporary Still Life
  • Royal Institute of Oil Painters Annual Exhibition 2014

Other exhibitions

  • South Yorkshire Arts
  • Royal Academy
  • The Times Watercolour Exhibition
  • Huntingdon Prize Exhibition, Royal College of Art
  • Blackheath Gallery, London
  • Mall Galleries, London
  • John Sabin Gallery, London
  • Garforth Community College, Leeds
  • Peter Hedley Gallery, Manchester Academy

Publications

  • Journeys into Light, John Sprakes Complete Painting Course
  • The Use of Colour
  • A Complete Drawing Course