John Payne, a 1986 graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art, spends countless hours searching historical archives for photographs he can bring to life in a painting. He enjoys discovering forgotten images dating back fifty to a hundred years. Once John finds the images, his task is to transform them into a story on canvas.
The old black and white photographs are often defused, grainy and lacking a sense of reality. Despite these visual obstacles, John is eager to turn the images into a work of art. He takes ordinary, everyday scenes tranforming them into compositionally balanced, aesthetically pleasing works of art to evoke a feeling for a bygone era. John spends considerable time choosing color palettes that best communicate the atmosphere. He carefully considers the level of detail for each of his subjects to make them as interesting up close as they are from afar.
John has always had a passion for drawing and painting. He remembers first being recognized for his ability to draw in kindergarten. John actually received commissions to paint specific subjects at an early age, inspiring him to pursue art as his life-long profession.
John`s approach to painting captures the observer and brings them into the picture. John says, “I want to transport the viewer back in time. I like to paint people from the past, from all social classes, interacting in every-day experiences. I want my art to create a mood or evoke a feeling.” John’s intent is not to merely copy an old image but to bring that image to life. Many artists from the past have deeply influenced John. In particular, the styles of Winslow Homer, Henri Fantin-Latour, and Edouard Manet have inspired him the most. Traveling abroad and experiencing the culture, architecture, and history of Europe also influence John’s work.
“Today so many of us exist in a world that is fast paced. It`s difficult to slow down, take a breath and see all the beauty that surrounds us” John explains. “I want to draw attention to images that transport us to a place that is calm, inviting, and reminiscent of carefree days of long ago.”
John Payne’s work is in many private collections across the country. He has exhibited in nunerous solo and small group invitational shows including shows at McBride Gallery.