Meet the artist John Holdway, Painter

Can you tell us a bit about you?

I grew up in the DC area in the 70s and 80s. I was exposed to the many museums such as the Hirshhorn and the National Gallery. I was fascinated by artists such as Jasper Johns de Kooning, Miro, Calder. I also love being outdoors. I spent time hiking and camping in the Appalachian Mountains. I started painting at a young age and studied painting and drawing all through high school. I studied painting at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore and got my BFA in 1997. I took longer than normal to graduate. I took breaks from college and traveled around a bit and worked in many different jobs including a salmon cannery in Alaska, which is where I met my wife. We settled to Oregon and now we have a son. We live in Eugene, which is beautiful and very different from the urban environment where I grew up. I struggle because although my life is perfectly organized for my art practice, I am isolated by time and space from the nuclei of the world of art.

How did you find your voice as an artist?

When I was 13, I was attempting to draw my hand for a class assignment. It felt strange at the time but I saw a vision almost like a projection of what I wanted to draw. Drawing what I saw became much easier. That initial experience was the spark. My work has many twists and turns through the years. Currently I am interested in attempting to hold a memory and feeling as the core of my vision.

Dark Glow

Looking back at your early works, what do you think about them?

It is surprising to see a piece hanging somewhere I didn’t expect to see it. I can see my “handwriting” even when I work in a very different style or medium.

Do you have favourite materials to work with?

The most I enjoy large oil paintings. But I also work with acrylic, which is great too. I do lots of work with watercolor and gouache for small work. Relief printmaking is another medium that is close to my heart.

Pair of trees

Do you have a vision of what your artistic future could look like?

Absolutely! I will continue studying, learning, experimenting and working as a painter forever. I am also involved in community building, teaching and helping others using visual art. I have a few projects that I am excited about. Currently I have a salon gallery in my studio and home where I have invited a number of artist friends to exhibit. The first event will be in a couple of months so make sure to sign up on my email list if you want the details. I am eager to reveal another project in the near future.

Gold Field

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