I am thankful and blessed to have recently been awarded “Best of Show” in the 2019 National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society Spring Online International Exhibition. Thank you to awarding judge, William Schneider, for selecting my painting “Be Still My Soul” from more than 1150 entries.
All of us that enter work in competitions know it will be scrutinized and evaluated against all other entries. Competitions are useful in analyzing how we stack up with our peers, but most of the time, as you know, we won’t receive an award. When we do, it must always be received with thankfulness and humility, fully recognizing it as an encouragement, but also being fully aware that it’s one person’s opinion and could have just as easily gone to someone else.
That being said, I am grateful to Patricia Tribastone, NOAPS Blog Director, for the interview she had with me as a result of my win. Hope you enjoy it.
John Pototschnik: Painter of the Sublime
Let out your breath a little, and enjoy the view. This painting by John Pototschnik allows us to be a part of this peaceful, serene landscape, and allows us to lull into thoughtfulness. The artist has used every tool at his disposal to give us this sense of placidity; from the composition, the value structure, the neutral colors with bits of brights, soft and hard edges, the vacillation of warm and cool to the perfect rendering of every part of the painting. This masterful painting is one of many by this artist.
The pursuit of art began in earnest for John when, after some interest in art during his high school years, and an attempt at business studies in college, he switched his major to illustration. During a post-graduate four-year stint in the Air Force, he was able to take evening classes at the Art Center College, Pasadena, California. He continued his study of art through reading, and most importantly, application (easel time!). He spent ten years as a freelance illustrator in Dallas, Texas, after which he began his full time career as a fine artist. In 1992 John was awarded with the John Steven Jones Fellowship which enabled him to study at the Lyme Academy of Fine Art in Old Lyme, CT, with a focus on human anatomy.
John has had only one important mentor in his life; Ed Pointer. He has been a guide in life and spiritual matters as well as art for more than 50 years. Most recently John has studied with Joe Paquet, and is greatly inspired by his work. For inspiration, John looks to paintings from the 19th century, in particular, the work of Camille Corot, Francois Daubigny, and Jean Millet.
Currently, John works in oil. His favorite genre is the landscape, both American and European, as well as cityscapes, small towns and farms. Initially, he uses gessoed paper to create plein air studies, and takes photos of the scenes he intends to work into paintings. He further develops the idea for the painting on the same type of gessoed paper, using various compositions and colors schemes. For the final painting, he begins with a drawing using thinned raw umber paint, using his plein air sketches and photos for reference. This underpainting is a fully developed monochromatic painting where he “captures the desired value range, and therefore an accurate representation of the mood. When that is dry, color is applied matching the values already established in the monochromatic underpainting.” Working on canvas or gessoed board with a variety of brushes, his palette generally consists of one color from each of these primaries: Ultramarine Blue or Cobalt Blue; Alizarin Crimson or Cadmium Red or Cadmium Red Light; Lemon Yellow, Cadmium Yellow Light or Cadmium Yellow Pale, plus Titanium White. Other pigments that might be chosen to replace those above would include Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Terra Rosa, Indian Red or Ivory Black.
John’s strong connection with nature is grounded in his search for peace from the noise of our contemporary lives. The title for his winning painting, ‘Be Still My Soul’ was taken from a Christian hymn written over 260 years ago by Katharina von Schlegal. While being quiet with nature, John finds the opportunity to be a part of the stillness, to contemplate the “big questions about God, creation, and our purpose and place in the world. That’s the place I like most to be.” You may read more about the winning painting, in John’s own words, HERE.
Through his commitment, talent and hard work, John has been able to support his wife of 48 years and his family with his art. He has some sage advice for readers: “1. Decide what type of art you want to do. 2. Find one or two artists that do that type of work and learn all you can from them and apply it. 3. Stop hopping around from workshop to workshop. 4. Be patient, work and and persevere, because there will be times of discouragement. Only those that don’t give up succeed.”
John Pototschnik is represented by Abend Gallery, Denver, CO; Highlands Gallery, Lambertville, NJ; Illume Gallery, St. George, UT; Mary Williams Fine Art, Boulder, CO; Southwest Gallery, Dallas, TX; and Wylie Fine Art Gallery, Wylie, TX.
Thank you Patricia Tribastone and the NOAPS.
Next week: An important interview with the amazing, Charlie Hunter.
***If you would like to receive this weekly blog automatically, please complete the simple form to the right of this page.
I’m pleased to announce the release of my latest teaching video and book. The video and accompanying book, shown here, along with my first video, “Limited Palette Landscape”, include everything I’ve taught in my workshops. You can now take my oil painting workshop right in the comfort of your home, and for a lot less money than physically being present. (Click image to learn more)
To own an original painting from the book, please click HERE
John Pototschnik is an Art Renewal Center Living Master. To view his art and bio, please click HERE.