Jack was Born Edinburgh, 1953. He studied at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, Dundee 1970-1974. Awarded postgraduate year 1975, and achieved a highly commended post diploma – the highest award possible at that time. Also awarded Farquhar Reid Travelling Scholarship 1975, which was spent in Paris and Florence.
Selected to study at Hospitalfield House, Arbroath during the summer of 1973, under the renowned pop artist Peter Blake.
Set up a design studio after college, whilst continuing to make time to paint and exhibit. In 1997, Jack decided to paint full time and now works from his studios at home in Fife, Scotland and on the Cote d’Azur in the south of France.
Jack chooses to paint several distinct types of work. He says “I get bored easily, so the idea of painting only one type of subject, in one particular style, doesn’t keep me interested creatively. I need to be more flexible, and move from one discipline to the next whenever I choose.”
Jack has settled into a range of styles and subjects that are in no way new but lend themselves to the expression of an individual vision, an opportunity to portray the timeless qualities of the world around me that the viewer will hopefully find accessible and uplifting.
It is no accident then that he finds inspiration where generations of artists have found inspiration before him; in still life, in landscape and in figure painting. But in all of these he feels no compulsion to find a “new angle”, just an opportunity to express an individual point of view and share it.
So it is that Jack has found himself on the well worn artistic path between Scotland and the south of France and Venice, immediately attracted to the timeless vistas almost unchanged by the relentless march of the modern world. Venice in particular with it absence of cars and vans - even its vaporetti date back over 100 years - makes an irresistible subject. In France Jack found himself editing out the modern intrusions to arrive at a more serene balance of the built environment and landscape, a calmness but hopefully without cliché. He always prefers the harbour scene without the white plastic boats, which he noticed after painting it is almost the only change to Cassis harbour since Cadell painted it over a century ago.
In the studio Jack is attracted by the same challenges of portraying light and shade, texture and colour to create a balance in which he hopes to attract and captivate the viewer both in still life and figure work. The flower petal, the silver, the glass all represent an opportunity for an economy of brushwork to create an illusion of presence. The pose and the elegance of form are the essential qualities that help make the composition connect with the viewer in figure work.
Through time spent working with Roy McGregor on his recent biography, Jack has had the chance to look back on his work to date and see if there has been a recurring theme. The questions artists have asked themselves standing in front of the canvas have been the same for hundreds of years. Whilst Jack's answers may not be new they are at least different - original even - because they are at the very least his answers. They are now, and he hopes will continue to be, timeless.