John’s paintings—wherever they are done—have a geological story behind them. When he returned to Australia in 2003 he moved to a small farm near Aratula in Queensland’s Scenic Rim where he set up a studio to indulge in his first love since he was a boy—painting. His artwork has been exhibited in Trieste (Italy), Seattle (Washington), Brisbane, Canberra and Perth with television appearances on ABC, Seven and Nine Networks. He has presented his paintings, together with their geological stories, on sites across Africa, Portugal, United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, and throughout Australia. Audiences have included students, engineers, earth scientists, accountants, drilling crews, medical doctors, teachers, local councillors, politicians, farmers, tourists, lawyers, and maintenance workers. His art has also “branded” academic and industry conferences. His work has been acquired by the University of New England, the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association and a number of corporate and private collectors in Australia and overseas. In 2013 he was awarded the Australian Petroleum Industry’s highest award, it’s Gold Medal (The Reg Sprigg Medal) for outstanding service to industry, art, the environment and teaching. In 2017 John was elected to the Board of Trustees at the Institute for the Study of Earth and Man at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas.
My number one aim when I commence an artwork is to engage, excite and enthuse all varieties of people with geological stories of the earth. I get fun, energy and enjoyment from sharing what stories I have with those that are looking to connect with the rocks that we are dependant on.
Grafton Primary School, New South Wales. Although I dive into geological landscapes and research my topics in detail I also thrive on facilitating workshops, discussions and field trips.
A GeoArt workshop for Colour Australia in Brisbane. New GeoStories arise at the most unexpected moments, even sometimes for me. One story leads to another and often those around me contribute new thinking and insights that continually adds another dimension.
A Geological Story Telling Booth for Science Week. Whether we are discussing “Geology and Wine”, “Volcanoes and Earthquakes”, “Erosion, Water and Soil” or “Extinction and Evolution” it always seems new with fresh ideas coming from the participating group.
A GeoArt exhibition whilst working as an Artist in Residence. Whilst designing and completing my artwork I use colour and structure to portray the “personalities” and relationships between the rocks in the story I am telling. Rocks contain all the drama one can imagine and their histories can be both “mind blowing” and beautiful. In the middle of painting it is not uncommon to be confronted with questions that I have never heard before. Geological art has taken me down pathways that were unknown to me. Furthermore, it is fantastic to share these discoveries with others in exhibitions and presentations.
A primary school Geological Workshop Outdoor introduction to geological stories and then painting them is a wonderful start (for children or adults) to begin any investigation into our Earth.
International Geological Congress Exhibition Story swapping with Professor Iain Stewart.
Exhibition at the Queensland Museum. Integrating artwork with the University of Queensland.
The Studio The studio is a retreat with books, paint, canvas, brushes and imagination.