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Above: Artist John Dyer painting in the rainforest of Borneo with endangered orangutans.

John Dyer

The Art of John Dyer

John Dyer is Cornwall's best known and best loved contemporary artist. His work is known all over the world through his many art prints, posters and exhibitions. He has a unique way of capturing the essence of his subject and his work celebrates the song of life. John Dyer's work hangs in the UK's national art collections with Falmouth Art Gallery, The Eden Project, Save the Children, the National Trust and the NHS. His work brings a huge amount of joy to all who view. We are delighted to represent all of John Dyer's paintings, signed prints and art posters and also work with the artist on his global projects and exhibitions which have included work with the Tall Ships Sail Training International, Survival International, the Eden Project, the Born Free Foundation and NGOs in Costa Rica, the Philippines and Peru.

John Dyer on Wikipedia

Introduction to Cornish Artist John Dyer (born 1968)

John Dyer (born 1968 ) is one of Britain's leading and best known contemporary painters.

“Imagine if all the colour, if all the shapes, if all the emotion, if all the fun, if all the joy and if all the love you feel could be captured for a moment to remember for all time. This is the power of a painting. This is the power of a painting that captures what a place feels like.” John Dyer

John Dyer is one of the UK's most exciting and well known postmodern plein-air painters. His work is collected internationally and his paintings have been the subject of popular television programmes and a wide range of merchandise. 

John's environmental work studying the ethnobotanical relationships of plants with the Eden Project has firmly placed his work at the forefront of contemporary art and he is one of the UK's best known international environmental artists, having worked with leading scientific organisations across the globe.

"There is an innocence and freshness to John Dyer's art that follows a tradition in Cornwall that includes the work of Alfred Wallis, Christopher Wood, Fred Yates and Bryan Pearce. Rather than trying to record what he sees, John sets out to capture the 'essence' of his subject. The 'essence' of seagulls, cats, dogs, bobbing boats, or exploding fireworks communicate far more strongly through John's brushstrokes than they would if drawn more traditionally. It is this ability to capture the 'essence' of what is important that seems to appeal to those who have shown great vision and originality in their own careers, such as Tim SmitAlan Titchmarsh or Kim Wilde."

Read the full text from the director of Falmouth Art Gallery

Quotes about artist John Dyer:

"John's work is pure painted joy. His pictures make you want to touch, squeeze & push your nose into flowers and breathe deeply. It's no surprise that his paintings are popular the world over. He touches a very human need for light, pattern & colour. We sense in John's paintings the sheer human thrill of being alive.." 

SUE HILL - ART DIRECTOR EDEN PROJECT

"One of the UK's most exciting artists. It is rare to meet someone who has the same appreciation of atmosphere, colour, texture and the magic that can be created in a garden, and inJohn we have found someone who understands exactly what we were trying to do. Looking at your own garden through someone else's eyes is always interesting, but when the eyes belong to John Dyer then you hope that he will see something that allows him to use those vibrant colours he has on his palette."

ALAN TITCHMARSH MBE

"The BIG Art & Storytelling Tall Ships Project is charismatic. John Dyer’s new Tall Ships painting, combined with professional storytelling, creates an irresistible hub for creativity to flourish.”

PHILIP MOULD OBE

"Your fantastic paintings not only brought the apartment tolife, but also put the energy of the Riviera indoors!"

TOYAH WILLCOX - ROCK STAR

"John Dyer is one of Britain's leading and best known contemporary painters. Born in 1968 his work embraces colour and the 'Song of Life'."

THE NATIONAL TRUST

"A fabulous collection which perfectly epitomises Eden."

TIM SMIT - FOUNDER OF THE EDEN PROJECT

"I have always had immense respect for anyone who chooses to taketime to interpret our world for us through painting, and feel especially privileged to have hosted such an inspired artist in our back garden!"

KIM WILDE - ROCK STAR

"Cornish artist John Dyer has built up an enviable reputation with a host of successful exhibitions behind him and numerous poster and print publications promoting his work worldwide. 'Cornish Safari' consolidates a reputation that is founded on his love of painting the people and places of Cornwall." 

INSIDE CORNWALL MAGAZINE

"Walk into a room full of John Dyer's creations and youconnot help but be bowled over by their sunny optimism, their colourful exuberance. They tell stories of seaside days and adventures into the natural world, of exploring our surroundings with a genuine joie de vivre. His distinct style is internationally renowned and he has travelled widely, depicting the relationship between people and their environment in places as diverse as Australia, the Philippines Costa Rica and Japan."

LUCY CORNES - JOURNALIST

"John's pictures are all about diversity and bringing out what might pass unseen."

CHARLOTTE LUSTY - SCIENTIST

John Dyer has been the artist in residence for many global organisations:

Darwin 200, The Eden Project, National Trust’s St Michael’s Mount, Giardini Hanbury, SBM Monaco, Falmouth – Royal Greenwich Tall Ships Regatta, Cutty Sark Tall Ships Regatta, Bioversity International, International Rice Research Institute, CGIAR, Gyllyngdune Gardens, Alan Titchmarsh, Kim Wilde, Tresco Estate, Banrock Station Wine Australia, BBC Gardeners’ World Live, Live 8 Concert, Girlguides Centenary, CIP Peru, Orangutan Foundation Borneo.

Did you know ?

•John Dyer selected to study a degree in Design at Middlesex in London. This was so that he had the tools and knowledge to present his paintings.

•Using paint as his medium, he feels his optimism for life has been carried through his work.

•John Dyer had his work published in a feature magazine article about him when he was only eleven years old !

•Through his paintings, John hopes to convey optimism, fun, life, joy, happiness, the good things in life and the colours that pass people by.

•After being awarded a travelling bursary to Brazil from Thames Television John was inspired to use bold colours and imagery.

•John has been surrounded by artists and paintings throughout his life. His father - Ted Dyer - is a well known artist who has been painting for many years.

Key Facts

•Born in 1968, in Somerset. The son of two painters Ted Dyer and Vivien Dyer.

•Ted Dyer moved the family to Cornwall in 1972, and John spent his childhood in the Cornish Landscape with camera and drawing books.

•John studied for a BA Hons in Design in London and during that time travelled extensively in the Amazon Rainforest of Brazil supported by Thames Television.

•John Graduated with an honours degree and returned to Cornwall to paint and was immediately asked by Falmouth Art School to lecture for them. John lectured part time for nine years.

•In 2000 John was made 'Painter in Residence' for the Eden Project. A position he still holds today. His ethno-botanical work is recognised internationally by many globally important organisations and he has spent time painting in Costa Rica, Italy, France and the Philippines for the project.

•John is one of the UK's most widely published and succesfull artists.

•John's work is held in permanent public art collections of The Eden Project, The National Trust, The Tresco Estate, Save the Children UK, Falmouth Art Gallery, Gyllyngdune Gardens and many important private collections across the world.

Fun, lively and appealing to an audience worldwide, John Dyer captures the lighter side of life in his colourful paintings. Recognised for his cheerful reflections of Cornwall, John has also used the humour and laughter in his work to highlight many serious causes over the past five years. Only recently he returned from the Borneo rainforest where he has been involved in a project to raise awareness about climate change. John Dyer was born in Taunton in 1968 into an artistic family who inspired him to paint from an early age. He completed a Foundation Art Course at Falmouth College of Art in 1987 and went on to gain a BA Hons Degree in Graphic Design at Middlesex University in London.

"I have lived in Cornwall for most of my life and have been lucky enough to have grown up surrounded by art, artists and painting. My father, Ted Dyer, is a well known painter and it is the influence and guidance from him that has inspired me to explore my own paintings and to find my own artistic voice.

I have painted from a very young age, and decided to study formally at Falmouth Art School and Middlesex University in a range of visual arts before deciding to focus on painting. I returned to Cornwall in 1992 and have never looked back.

I have been lucky in that people have always enjoyed my paintings. I try to focus on the positive elements of life, the things that inspire me, the song of life. My work is a natural response to the world around me, contemporary, and as individual to me as my handwriting or thumb print. I paint the space where what I see and what I feel merge.

I hope that I bring part of myself to the viewer through my work, and that the viewer brings an equal amount to my paintings - if this happens then I have succeeded in my aim. I hope that the sum of the two adds up to far more than I could ever know."

John Dyer.

John Dyer's Biography

John Dyer is one of Cornwall's best-known artists. His work has been widely published and is available in poster and art card from all over the world. John Dyer was born near Taunton in 1968. He completed a Foundation Art Course at Falmouth School of Art in 1987 and went on to gain a BA Hons Degree in Graphic Design at Middlesex Polytechnic in London, showing his final year work at the Smiths Gallery, Covent Garden.

Since graduating John has concentrated his time on painting as well as teaching as a part-time lecturer at Falmouth College of Arts.

John's paintings are bold both in terms of imagery and colour. His palette has a Mediterranean or Caribbean feel with sunny yellows and deep turquoise sea blues. The paintings are very optimistic and are full of fun and happiness with more than just a touch of humour. Colours are placed in large areas creating a base pattern on which the other elements are placed.


Environmental

1989 made a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society by Robin Hanbury-Tenison

John's work has been used to help to raise awareness for the following organisations
INIBAP (International Network for the improvement of banana and plantain)
EDEN (The Eden Project)
IRRI (The International Rice Research Institute)
IPGRI (The International Plant Genetic Resources Institute)
Survival International

John's paintings are in the Permanent Collections of:

The National Trust
The Eden Project
Save The Children
The Tresco Estate 
The Falmouth Public Art Gallery
The Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust, Truro
Gyllyngdune Gardens, Falmouth

Mixed exhibitions

Royal Photographic Society, London
Smiths Gallery, Covent Garden,
London Young Designers, Business Design Centre, Islington, London
'Open House' 1991, Newlyn Orion, Cornwall 
Mid Cornwall Galleries, Par, Cornwall 
Juliet Gould Galley, Fowey 
Trelissick Gallery, Truro 
Chalk Farm Gallery, London 
Artifex Gallery, Birmingham
Falmouth Art Gallery
Cambridge Contemporary Art, Cambridge 
The New Craftsman Gallery St Ives, Cornwall
Falmouth Art Gallery
Lander Gallery, Truro
The Clementine Gallery Fowey

Selected Exhibitions

June 1990 Bursary exhibition at Thames Television, Tottenham Court Road, London 
November 1990 Three person exhibition with Taja & Penny Tajima Simpson at Beside The Wave, Falmouth, Cornwall.
May 1994 Two-person exhibition with artist Joanne Short at Juliet Gould's Gallery, Fowey, Cornwall. 
July 1994 One man exhibition "Sun Sea & Fancy-Free", Beside The Wave, Falmouth, Cornwall.
May 1995 Exhibition of paintings with Jack Pender, Anthony Frost, & Bryan Pearce at Juliet Gould's Gallery, Fowey, Cornwall. 
July 1995 One man exhibition "Cornish Fancies", Beside The Wave, Falmouth, Cornwall. 
August 1995 Two-person exhibition with artist Joanne Short at Juliet Gould's Gallery, Fowey, Cornwall. 
July 1996 One man exhibition "A Splash of Summer", Beside The Wave, Falmouth, Cornwall. 
Summer 1996 ÒViews of Falmouth" By Artists from Turner to the Present Day, Falmouth Art Gallery. 
July 1997 One man exhibition "Beneath Cornish Skies", Beside The Wave, Falmouth, Cornwall. 
October 1997 One man exhibition "Mad about Cornwall", Artifex Gallery, Birmingham. 
July 1998 One man exhibition "Tall Ships and Small Ships', Beside The Wave, Falmouth, Cornwall.
July 1999 One man exhibition "Watching and Waiting" ', Beside The Wave, Falmouth, Cornwall. 
September 1999 Joint Exhibition with Joanne Short & Ted Dyer "Provence colour and landscape", Cork Street, London.
July 2000 Joint Exhibition with Joanne Short "Beachy Treats, on holiday at home", Beside The Wave, Falmouth, Cornwall.
July 2001 One Man Exhibition "A Piece of Eden", Beside The Wave, Falmouth, Cornwall.
July 2002 Joint Exhibition with Joanne Short "Tresco a Cornish Paradise", Beside The Wave, Falmouth, Cornwall.
October 2002 Exhibition at the Eden Project - paintings of Italy.
July 2003 Joint Exhibition with Joanne Short "St. Michael's Mount - the sound of the sea", Beside The Wave, Falmouth, Cornwall.
September 2003 Joint Exhibition with Joanne Short & Ted Dyer "Italy Luce e Colori", Gallery 27, Cork Street, London
July 2004 One Man Exhibition "Cornish Safari", Beside The Wave, Falmouth, Cornwall.
October / November / December 2004 Exhibition at the Eden Project - 'Rice is Life'
2004 Falmouth Art Gallery - The River
2005 Falmouth Art Gallery - Tremendous
2005 One Man Exhibition "South Coast", Beside The Wave, Falmouth, Cornwall.
2005 Exhibition "Roundabout Tresco", Gallery Tresco, Isles of Scilly.
2006 Exhibition at the Eden Project - Banrock Station Paintings. 
2006 Exhibition with Gallery Tresco, Isles of Scilly. with Joanne Short
2007 Exhibition "Paintings from a small island" St Michael's Mount with Joanne Short 
2008 Exhibition "Singing and Zinging" Paintings from Giardini Hanbury and Riviera. Monaco.
2008 Exhibition "Tall Ships and Small Ships '08" National Maritime Museum.
2009 Conservatoire Expo, Côte d'Azur, Menton
2010 Carwinion House and Garden
2010 Darwin 200 One Man Show at Falmouth Art Gallery
2012 Global Gardens One Man Show
2014 Official Falmouth to Royal Greenwich Tall Ships Exhibition One Man Show at The National Maritime Museum Cornwall
2015 Cornish Summer Treats Exhibition with Joanne Short and Ted Dyer- The John Dyer Gallery
2015 Spirit of the Rainforest Exhibition at the Eden Project with Amazon Indian Nixiwaka Yawanawa
2018 Retrospective exhibition - Painting the colours of the World at Falmouth Art Gallery
2019: Last Chance to Paint exhibition at the Eden Project

Residencies

2000/01/02/03/04/05/06/07/08 Painter in residence, The Eden Project, Cornwall  
July 2002 Resident artist with Alan Titchmarsh - a garden portrait
April 2003 One week residency in Costa Rica for the International Network for the Improvement of Banana and Plantain.
August 2003 Resident artist with Kim Wilde - a garden portrait 
April 2004 Resident artist for the International Rice Research Institute, Philippines
June 2004 Resident artist for BBC Gardeners World Live
2005 Resident artist for 'Africa Calling' Live 8
2006 Resident artist for Banrock Station, South Australia
2006 Resident artist for St Michael's Mount with Joanne Short
2007/08 Resident artist for Giardini Hanbury, Italy
2008 Resident Artist for Funchal 500 Tall Ships Regatta.
2010 Artist in Residence for Darwin 200 and Newquay Zoo
2012 Artist in Residence for Gyllyngdune Gardens, Falmouth
2014 Artist in Residence for the Falmouth to Royal Greenwich Tall Ships Races
2015 Artist in Residence for Eden Project - Spirit of the Rainforest
2019 Artist in residence with the Yawanawá tribe in the Amazon rainforest
2019 Artist in residence with the Orangutan Foundation in the rainforest of Borneo

Fine Art Publications

John's paintings have been reproduced by:
Canns Down Press, Beside The Wave Publishing, & The Art Group. 
1989 Poster published by Athena. 
1990-1994 Art Cards published by Canns Down Press.
1996 Poster published by The Art Group for Habitat.
1997 Posters published by The Art Group. 
1998 Posters published by The Art Group. 
1998 The official limited edition print of the Tall Ships' Races published by Beside The Wave. 
1999 Eclipse Limited Edition published by Beside The Wave.
1999 Eclipse Diary for Primary Schools
2000 Millenium Limited Edition published by Beside The Wave. 
2000 Posters & Art Cards published by The Art Group. 
2001 The official limited edition print for The Eden Project published by Beside The Wave.
2001 The 'John Dyer Collection' Calendar, Diary, Posters and Drawing book published by the Eden Project.
2002 Tresco limited editions, Eden limited editions
2002 Alan Titchmarsh 'Barleywood' limited editions
2002 Alan Titchmarsh 'Barleywood' posters for Gardeners' World Magazine
2003 National Maritime Museum Limited Edition Print
2003 Save the Children 'Rice and Hope' Limited Edition Print 
2004 Eden Project Limited Edition Prints - Bulb Mania!
2004 New ARTCafé range for Alan Titchmarsh Products
2005 Canns Down Press - Art Cards
2007 The Robertson Collection - Art Cards
2008 The Eden Project - Art on demand range
2008 Official Limited edition print for Tall Ships Races 
2010 The John Dyer Gallery- Art on demand range
2012 The Truro City Guide 
2014 Tall Ships Races

Magazine Publications

John's paintings have been featured in many magazines including:
Art Review
Homes and Gardens
Artists and Illustrators
Times Educational
Eden Friends
BBC Radio Times
Amateur Gardening
Garden Answers
Gardens Illustrated
Inside Cornwall
Cornwall Today
County to Sea Magazine 
Coast Magazine
Land Rover Monthly
And many more... 

Live Events

'Planting and Painting' an evening with John Dyer and Alan Titchmarsh at the Eden Project January 2003
'To Eden and Beyond', The banana story Co-presented with INIBAP September 2003.
'Rice and Hope' Launch of the beat poverty campaign October 2003
Gardeners World Live June 2004
The launch of 'Edible Playgrounds' with Creative Partnerships at Eden
Live event with the manager of Banrock Station Tony Sharley at the Eden Project - May 2006
Live Event for Falmouth Tall Ships
Live Event for Gyllyngdune Gardens 
Live Radio Broadcasts with BBC Radio Cornwall
Live Radio on the BBC Worldservice
Live BBC TV from St Michael's Mount
Inspiration speech at Truro Cathedral


School visits

John has given his time to many schools and has visited and talked to hundreds of children including:
King Charles Primary
Porthleven
Threemilestone
Probus
Perranwell 
Devoran
Wendron
Winscombe Primary School  
Truro
Cubert
Wells Cathedral School
Mutum school, Yawanawá tribe in the Amazon

and many many more.


Teaching

John taught part-time at Falmouth Art School for nine years from 1991 to 2000 on many courses including:
BA Illustration, BA Journalism, BA Graphics, Foundation.

Competitions & Children's Art Projects

John has judged many art competitions including:
Trebah Gardens Easter Egg painting competition
BBC Radio Tall Ships Painting competition
Tall Ships 1998
Tall Ships 2008 
Girlguides Centenary
Darwin 200
Global Gardens with Kim Wilde
Tall Ships 2014
Spirit of the Rainforest 2015

Charity work and NGO work

John's has raised money or awareness for the following charities & organisations:
Precious Lives
Sail Training Association - Tall Ships
Gardens for Schools
Save the Children UK
Rainforest Rescue International
Children in Need
Cornwall Gardens Society
Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust 
King Charles Primary School
The Eden Project
International Network for the Improvement of Banana and Plantain, France
International Rice Research Institute, Philippines
International Plant Genetic Resources Institute, Rome
Born Free Foundation
Orangutan Foundation
Mind

A selection of questions that have been put to John Dyer

What has influenced your work?
Lots of things, my love of paint as a medium is one thing. I really enjoy squeezing out a big lump of paint directly onto the canvas and leaving it; fresh, immediate and sometimes shocking. At other moments I enjoy building up the paint, breaking it down again, layering it, painting over it etc. My work all stems from my enjoyment of the medium. I also have a passion for colour, strong colours, clashing colours, all colours. My last great love is my home county of Cornwall, I love to sit and watch people enjoying themselves on the beaches and in the harbour towns of Cornwall; put this all together and I want to paint, paint big, bright, optimistic pictures of the place I love.

I have also been surrounded by artists and paintings throughout my life, as you probably know my father Ted Dyer is an artist and from a very early age, I have spent time sitting in the environment painting and drawing what I see, not what a camera would see, but what I see.


What other artists have you studied?
Matisse, Chagall, Bonnard, the Fauves, Van Gogh.

Which areas in Cornwall do you most enjoy studying?
I choose to live in Falmouth because I like the town, its harbour and all of the activity associated with it; boats, tugs, ferry trips, seagulls, people, buildings etc. Falmouth is one of my favourite places to paint. Other places that I really enjoy working at are Coombe, St. Ives, Coverack, Church Cove, Port Loe, Flushing, Cadgwith.

Are your paintings from life or do you use photographs or previous studies?
The majority of my work is from life, I spend most fine days from May to October painting outside in some of the places that I have mentioned above. I try to complete the painting by the end of the day and include elements that I observe throughout the day, dogs, birds, people, fishermen etc. During the winter when the weather is too poor to work outside I do use drawings and photographs, but I change my work so that it encompasses other elements and is not just a time and place study. e.g the Tall Ships series, animal paintings, work based on the family unit etc.

Where else in the world would you like to study?
I have been painting in France in Brittany and Provence & also Spain as well as the Philippines, Costa Rica, Australia and Peru.  When I was in Brazil photographing in 1989 I knew that I wanted to paint, and on my return to Cornwall, I discovered that I was living in a tropical paradise. 

Would you consider going back to photography and why?
No. It is far too limiting and in my opinion, the advent of digital media has destroyed much of the magic and mystery of the medium. I do however still take photographs for my own use, personal studies. I do not feel that I can fully express my views through the medium and this is why I have moved towards painting. Photography is, however, a fantastic medium and I would still use it for certain subjects. 

What contemporary artist do you admire?
Hockney, Frost, Heron.

Why did you decide to become a painter and when did you recognise that you had such a creative talent?
While I was at college studying design I decided to paint, in some ways it was a reaction to the constraints of design as well as a yearning for the landscape of Cornwall. I was also greatly inspired by the colours that I had seen on my travels in the Brazilian Rainforest. I decided to become a painter when my first four paintings were all published and attracted a great deal of interest. I exhibited one of them and it was sold, but more importantly than the sale it seemed to brighten people, it raised people’s spirits, my optimism for life had been carried through my work and this was something that I had previously failed to achieve. This was the point at which I realised that if I did what I wanted to do it would work, and it was also the point that I suppose I could acknowledge that all of my knowledge and training had come together to create something that I was excited about.

I was told that I was ‘talented’ when I applied to Falmouth School of Art for the foundation course in 1986, and was told that I should consider skipping the course and proceeding directly to degree level, the same thing occurred when I applied to a degree, I was advised that maybe I was already at that level. However, I ignored all of this advise and found out that I did not know everything, and in fact had an awful lot to learn!

Barbara Hepworth said about the landscape of Cornwall:

“Landscape is strong - it has bones and flesh and skin and hair. it has age and history and a principle behind its evolution”

i) Do you agree with her?
Yes, this is a fantastic statement and relates directly to her work.

ii) What would be your personal definition of the Cornish landscapes?
I will quote several lines that I have used before, none answer your question directly as my work is not entirely based on the landscape; but what happens within the landscape. Here are some:

“Sun, Sea, and Fancy-Free.”

“When the sun comes out in Cornwall, the landscape fills with colour, the light pours over the vegetation filling each leaf with radiant colours and cool waters into Mediterranean delights. “

“I love living in Cornwall, and I love painting. I spend every day that I can out and about painting what I see:

"Bright colours, sunshine and fun, small dogs with damp noses, peeling paint and peeling people; shells on the beach, sea spray in the air, jazz bands in bandstands, picnics on cliff tops, bright coloured smocks, cactus plants on walls, and banana plants in the park; small coves, huge Atlantic beaches, surf and still waters, the red moon on the horizon and stars, comets, and crickets; lighthouses and cottages, fishing boats and floats; theatre on the cliff, getting married on the beach, clear air and big skies; seagulls, greedy gulls, and silly gulls; buckets of crabs, fishermen in yellow oilskins, cats stealing fish, sea pinks and mermaids, ferry boats and flags.

These are just some of the things that inspire my paintings.

My work documents my trips out into the landscape and the things that I enjoy. Through my paintings, I hope to lift peoples spirits and provide an optimistic outlook on life.”

What has influenced your interest in art?

As you probably know my father is a well-known artist (Ted Dyer) who has been painting for many years. Our work is very different but growing up surrounded by paintings, paints, easels and art books does have an effect. My father has been very successful with his work and I decided that the lifestyle that an artist can have, the freedom to wander in the landscape with no real pressure or deadlines was a very attractive one. I have lived in Cornwall from the age of four so I have always been aware of the artistic heritage that the county has. I feel very proud to be able to connect to this in some small way. Painting is really good fun, I have always enjoyed it and I find that as long as I paint what I want with the freedom that I enjoy I never tire. 

Have you always lived by the sea? If so, Where?

From the age of four until I was eighteen I lived on the north coast of Cornwall with my family at Holywell Bay. I used to spend most of my free time on the beach playing in the rock pools, swimming, flying kites, and occasionally horse riding. I studied for my degree in London and consequently ended up spending five years away from Cornwall. I deliberately moved away from the coast to experience a different way of life, however, the coast of Cornwall is so fundamental to me that I moved back and now live in Falmouth. It was not just the scenery that I moved back for but the quality of air, light, the pace of life, simplicity of living. The move also made me focus on my paintings and rediscover Cornwall for the second time. 

In what way does the sea inspire you?

The most amazing thing to me about the sea is the tide. A harbour like St. Ives is totally transformed in a very short space of time by the arrival or departure of the sea. To people from other countries, it is even more amazing because in some parts of the world there is very little tidal movement. St Michaels Mount is another favourite place of mine to watch the tide; people will walk steadily across to the Mount all day and assume that they will be able to walk home. The spectacle of hundreds of people suddenly realising that the path they walked over on is disappearing under several feet of water is very amusing as they rush with prams, children and dogs to wade back to shore.

The other things that I love about the sea are its sounds and the way in which it reflects the sky. The colours that shimmer across its surface are unbelievable and this combined with the colour of the water if it is shallow and over white sand surprise me every time. Often I question some of the colour in my work but if you look it is all there.

I love the way you portray boats, what is your experience of boating?

I used to own a dingy and can still sail one if pushed, but I like the pleasure boats and trips that can be taken on them. The colours that these boats are painted are really wonderful. I am not so keen on modern yachts because they are predominantly white. I am lucky to live in Falmouth because of the variety of boats on the water and I prefer to paint them rather thansail them.

What do you hope to convey through your paintings?

Optimism, fun, life, joy, happiness, the good things in life, the colours that pass people by.

Which artists have inspired your work?

Different artists influence me all the time, I regularly visit collections of paintings. this year I have travelled to Paris twice to see the work in the Pompidou Centre specifically, work by The Fauves, Matisse, Bonnard. 
Originally the paintings by Van Gough and Chagall had a big influence.

What tools do you use to apply your paint?

Brushes of different sizes from size 2 to four inches, I also apply paint directly from the tube and with my fingers.

Are there specific colours you like to use in your palette?

Cobalt Blue, Cad yellow, Cad red, Pthalo green shade, Pthalo blue shade...... I use a very wide selection of colours. It is impossible to produce work like mine using only the primary colours as they only mix a certain range of colour. Turquoise blues, bright clear oranges, vibrant pinks, clean purples, lemon yellows etc cannot be mixed. I use about twenty different colours to retain the luminance in my work.

I have noticed that your style of painting has slightly changed over the last few years. What has influenced this?

Until you pointed this out I was not really aware of the change, however having looked at some of my earlier work I feel that I have simply improved the way in which I paint. The colours are cleaner and there is more energy in the brushwork.

How do you resource your paintings

I paint the majority of my paintings outside directly from life. My other work comes from within me; mad animals, mermaids, abstract shapes etc. I also paint still lives which I do again from life in the studio.

Chronology of John Dyer's Life & Work

Chronology

1968

Born Ruishton, Somerset, the son of artists Ted Dyer & Vivien

1972

Family settles in Holywell Bay, Cornwall

1973

Attends Cubert County Primary School with Joanne Short

1980

John's photographs first published in Amateur Photographer

Attends Newquay Tretherras School with Joanne Short

1986

Attends Falmouth Art School for foundation year

1987

Attends Middlesex Polytechnic

1989

First publishes photographs with Athena.

Elected a Fellow of The Royal Geographical Society by Robin Hanbury-Tenison & travels to the Amazon Rainforest on a travelling bursary

Founder of Beside The Wave Gallery with the Dyer family

1990

John's first exhibition at Thames Television, London

First exhibits at Beside The Wave, Falmouth

1992

Starts lecturing at Falmouth College of Arts

1994

First exhibition with artist Joanne Short at Juliet Gould Gallery, Fowey

First one-man show at Beside The Wave, Falmouth 'Sun, Sea & Fancy-Free'

1996

Work published for Habitat fine art prints

1997

Marries Joanne Short at Gunwalloe Church Cove, Cornwall

First exhibition with Artifex Gallery, West Midlands

1998

Official artist for Tall Ships Race.

'Tall Ships and Small Ships' reproduced as official limited edition print

Travels to Provence

1999

Travels to Provence

Daughter Martha-Lilly Dyer born on eclipse day

2000

Starts as Painter in Residence for The Eden Project

Travels to Loire Valley, France

2001

Painter in Residence for Tresco, with Joanne Short

Paints 'Roaming around the Rainforest'

reproduced as the official print for The Eden Project

2002

Painter in Residence for Alan Titchmarsh's Barleywood

Painter in Residence for St Michael's Mount with Joanne Short

Helps to Launch 'Edible Playgrounds'

Travels to Tuscany/Umbria in Italy

'Scavel an Gow' commissioned by Eden to write a new set of stories based on John Dyer's paintings of Italy

First exhibition at The Eden Project

Paints 'Magical Maritime Mermaids' to celebrate the opening of the National Maritime Museum Cornwall

'Barleywood' paintings featured in BBC Radio Times

2003

Live event with Alan Titchmarsh at The Eden Project

Painter in Residence for the International Network for the Improvement of Banana and Plantain, Costa Rica

Travels to Tuscany/Umbria in Italy

Painter in Residence for Kim Wilde

Launches the 'Beat Poverty' Campaign with Save the Children at The Eden Project.

Produces 'Rice and Hope' painting for Save the Children.

2004

Painter in Residence for the International Rice Research Institute, Philippines

Painter in Residence for BBC Gardeners' World Live & Live event with Alan Titchmarsh

2005

Paints Ellen McArthur's triumphant record-breaking return to Falmouth

Travels to Cote d'Azur, France

Painter in Residence for Tresco

'The West We Like Best' ITV Television series featuring John Dyer.

'The Painted Garden' ITV Television series featuring John Dyer.

Painter in Residence for Africa Calling, Live 8, Eden Project with Kurt Jackson

Produces painting to be auctioned for BBC Children in Need

Co-founder with artist Joanne Short of The John Dyer Gallery

Leaves Beside The Wave Gallery

2006

Painter in Residence for Banrock Station, South Australia

Paints 'Gateway to Cornwall' for Brunel 200 Celebrations funded by the Heritage Lottery and commissioned by Falmouth Art Gallery

Painter in Residence for Tresco, with Joanne Short

Paints the Tresco Marathon

Painter in Residence for St Michael's Mount, with Joanne Short

BBC Spotlight Live Outside Broadcast

Birth of daughter Wilamena May Dyer

Paints 'The Olive Route' for Carol Drinkwater's book


2007

Painter in Residence for St Michael's Mount, with Joanne Short

First exhibition on St Michael's Mount 'Paintings from a small Island'

Travels to Japan

First exhibition in Japan

Travels to Cote d'Azur, France and Liguria in Italy meets Carolyn Hanbury at the Hanbury Gardens and William Waterfield at The Clos du Peyronnet. Lives in Menton, France for a year at the Winter Palace

2008

Painter in Residence for Giardini Hanbury, La Mortola, Italy with artist Joanne Short

Official Artist for the Tall Ships Races, Falmouth, Cornwall

First Exhibition in Monaco

2009

Artist in Residence for The South West Darwin 200 celebrations working with Newquay Zoo and Falmouth Art Gallery and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Painter in Residence for the International Center for Potato, Peru


2010

Artist in Residence for Girlguides Centenary Celebrations

Artist for the Official Monaco Film - Monaco Classics Week

2011

Exhibition with the Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust

Royal Cornwall Hospital Project

Exhibition at Carwinion House, Cornwall

Falmouth Oyster Festival official painting and print

Painting featured in Falmouth Frameworks Book


2012

Artist in Residence for Gyllyngdune Gardens

Global Gardens Project

Work featured on the Truro City Guide

Exhibition of Global Crops Paintings with the National trust

Exhibition of Ethnobotanical works at Falmouth Art Gallery

 

2013

First exhibits with The New Craftsman Gallery, St Ives, Cornwall

First exhibits with The Lander Gallery, Truro, Cornwall

Exhibits at Carwinion House and Garden, Cornwall with Artist Joanne Short


2014

Appointed Artist in Residence for the Falmouth to Royal Greenwich Tall Ships Regatta 2014

Runs The BIG Art and Storytelling Tall Ships Project with John Frankland, Philip Mould, Damian Dibben, Dea Birkett, Maxwell Golden, James Graham and Paul Farmer.

Exhibits at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall

Meets Nixiwaka Yawanawá at the Eden Project

Commission for Alan Titchmarsh MBE


2015

'Spirit of the Rainforest' project art residency with Nixiwaka Yawanawá at the Eden Project

 

2018

'Painting the Colours of the World' - John Dyer retrospective exhibition. At Falmouth Art Gallery.


2019

Founds Last Chance to Paint, an inspirational arts project for children. Partners with The Born Free Foundation and the Eden Project to deliver this.

Travels to the Amazon rainforest with Robin Hanbury-Tenison OBE, to live and paint with the Yawanawá tribe

Travels to the Borneo rainforest with Robin Hanbury-Tenison OBE, to paint the Penan tribe and to live with and paint orangutans with the Orangutan Foundation

2020

Appointed as an Artist for the Earth by EarthDay.org for the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.

John Dyer Paintings in Public Collections

All of the paintings listed below are part of the UK's national art collection. Every few years artuk catalogue the works and these appear on their web site.

Painting of Newquay zoo at night by John Dyer

Title: Zooing around, Newquay Zoo. 2009

Size: 33 x 40 inches

Medium: Acrylic on board

Location: Falmouth Art Gallery,Cornwall, UK

Description:

Purchased as part of the

Heritage Lottery Fund’s
Darwin 200 celebrations.

Held in the public collection of art at Falmouth Art Gallery, Cornwall, UK

FAMAG: 2009.47

This painting was produced as part of the Heritage Lottery Fund’s ‘Darwin 200 celebrations’. Falmouth Art Gallery worked in partnership with Newquay Zoo on a season of celebratory exhibitions to mark the occasion. John Dyer was appointed as ‘Darwin 200 artist in residence’, and had access to many of the zoo’s animal enclosures.

This picture was begun at 5 am as the animals awoke for their morning feeding. The man holding the torch is Newquay Zoo's Education Officer, Mark Norris, who is showing an early morning party round the zoo. John has included a portrait of himself at his easel, and a ‘Happy Birthday’ banner for Darwin.

Before he begins a painting John deliberates long and hard, working out how to interpret the subject into his own personal vision and capture the ‘essence’ that will trigger emotions in the viewer. He then works extremely quickly to capture the spontaneity of the moment. In this work he has cleverly captured the complex layout of the zoo to include nearly all the resident animals as well as some visiting bats and seagulls.

The Eden project rainforest biome captured in paint by Cornish artist and artist in residence for the Eden Project, John Dyer

Title: Garden of Eden, The Eden Project. 2001

Size: 33 x 40 inches

Medium: Acrylic on board

Location: The Eden Project

Description:

Purchased as part of the Eden project
opening celebrations 2001

Held in the Eden project permanent collection

This painting was painted as part of John Dyer's residency with the Eden Project in Cornwall.

The painting is on display at the Eden Project in their Foundation building.

The Eden Project used the painting for their launch and a large range of arts merchandise and the image is known the world over as an integral part of The Eden Project's early identity and vision.

John Dyer continues to explore ethno-botanical themes with the Eden Project and around the world.

John Dyer painting of St Ives Harbour in Cornwall

Title: Bathers in the Blue, St Ives. 2006

Size: 24 x 24 inches

Medium: Acrylic on canvas 

Location: Sunrise Centre, Royal Cornwall Hospital, Truro ,Cornwall, UK

Description:

Held in the public collection of the NHS Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust

John Dyer painting for Save the Children of the Rice harvest at the Eden Project

Title: Rice and Hope, Beat Poverty. 2003

Size: 33 x 40 inches

Medium: Acrylic on board

Location: Save the Children UK, Hinton Room.

Description:

Painted to launch the Beat Poverty Campaign for Save the Children at the Eden Project


Held in the public collection of Save the Children UK

Save the Children UK asked John Dyer to help them to launch the 'Beat Poverty' campaign at the Eden Project on 7 October 2003. Visitors to the project saw John at work in the Humid Tropics Biome painting a new Eden painting highlighting the importance of rice.

Each person that signed up to the campaign on the day at Eden was included in the historical painting.

The painting, 'Rice and Hope', measures 33 x 40 inches, acrylic on board, and is framed. It is full of life and colour.

John Dyer was also the resident artist for the UN year of Rice
working at the International Rice Research Institute, IRRI, in the Philippines. Launching the International Year of Rice 2004, the Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Dr Jacques Diouf, said that "rice is the staple food for over half of the world's population" but warned that "its production is facing serious constraints."

 John Dyer painting of the maze at National Trust Glendurgan Gardens

Title: Amazing Mayhen in the Maze in May, Glendurgan Garden. 2005

Size: 33 x 40 inches

Medium: Acrylic on board

Location: The National Trust, Glendurgan Garden, Cornwall.

Description:

Painted in 2005 and purchased by The National Trust

Held in the public collection of Glendurgan garden

"It is a very special painting of one of the most entertaining, visually exciting and historically important gardens in Cornwall, and for the National Trust and the team at Glendurgan to be so inspired by it that they wish to own it is not only very exciting, but a real honour." John Dyer 2005.

Steven Porter, Head Gardener at Glendurgan says:

"We were mesmerised by the painting when we first saw it and we are over the moon to now have it on display at Glendurgan. It will prove to be popular with our visitors, and hopefully be an image that people will want to take home with them. We are also using the painting to kick-start a collaboration with King Charles Primary School in Falmouth, of which John is a governor. We aim to develop the pupil's interest in plants, gardening and the environment. It is hoped that this painting will inspire the children from this and other schools to paint and take an active and creative interest in the garden."

View on the Art UK national collections web site.

John Dyer painting of Brunel's bridge at Plymouth. Gateway to Cornwall.

Title: Gateway to Cornwall. 2005

Size: 24 x 24 inches

Medium: Acrylic on canvas

Location: Falmouth Art Gallery,Cornwall, UK

Description:

Purchased as part of the

Brunel 200 Celebrations

Held in the public collection of art at Falmouth Art Gallery, Cornwall, UK

Dyer, John (born 1968): Gateway to Cornwall - the Brunell 200 celebrations, signed, acrylic on canvas, 61 x 61cms. Commissioned with funding from Brunel 200, an initiative of Bristol Cultural Development Partnership - Arts Council England South West, Heritage Lottery Fund, Bristol City Council and Business West.

The painting was commissioned by the late Brian Stewart, the former director of Falmouth Art Gallery for the Brunel 200 celebrations. Brian and John spent an afternoon at Paradise Park in Cornwall looking at the birds and wildlife. By the end of the afternoon John had drawn the basic composition of 'Gateway to Cornwall' on the back of a napkin in the café. Many of the elements in the painting were mentioned by Brian during their conversations and the work includes the artist, his wife and children as subjects.

View on the Art UK national collections web site.

John Dyer painting of the Heritage Lottery funded Gyllyngdune Gardens and bandstand in Falmouth

Title: Picnic Celebration, Gyllyngdune Gardens. 2012

Size: 18 x 24 nches

Medium: Acrylic on canvas

Location: Gyllyngdune Gardens, Falmouth, Cornwall.

Description:

Purchased by Gyllyngdune Gardens to celebrate the success of John Dyer's 2012 residency at Gyllyngdune Gardens.

This painting was produced as part of the residency at Gyllyngdune Gardens that artist John Dyer completed in 2012. The painting captures not only the restoration of the gardens but also the Diamond Jubilee year celebrations that were held in the gardens.

 

 John Dyer painting of Penguins

Title: Peckish Penguins. 2009

Size: 24 x 24 inches

Medium: Acrylic on canvas

Location: Falmouth Art Gallery,Cornwall, UK

Description:

Purchased as part of the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Darwin 200 celebrations.

Held in the public collection of art at Falmouth Art Gallery, Cornwall, UK

 

John Dyer painting of the Carrick Roads and Fal river in Falmouth

Title: Messing about on the River, Falmouth. 2010

Size: 33 x 40 inches

Medium: Acrylic on board

Location: Sunrise Centre, Royal Cornwall Hospital, Truro ,Cornwall, UK

Description:
Held in the public collection of the NHS Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust

 John Dyer painting of the Roseland Peninsular in Cornwall with tall ships

Title: Sailing towards the Roseland. 2008

Size: 24 x 24 inches

Medium: Acrylic on canvas Click for information on framing

Location: Sunrise Centre, Royal Cornwall Hospital, Truro ,Cornwall, UK

Description:
Painted for the 2008 Falmouth Tall Ships Regatta.

Held in the public collection of the NHS Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust

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