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Discover Cornwall's Most Popular Painter Today: A Glimpse Into Contemporary British & Cornish Art Icons

  • 8 min read

Popular painter John Dyer painting on the cliffs in Cornwall

Above: Popular painter John Dyer painting on the cliffs in Cornwall, UK

When searching for today’s most impactful artists, one cannot overlook Cornwall’s popular painter duo who are redefining the contemporary art scene. In this article, we highlight the lives and legacies of John Dyer and Joanne Short, whose works have not only captured Cornwall’s essence but have also captivated collectors worldwide. Embark on a journey that unveils the mastery behind their popularity as popular painters and their significant contributions to Cornish art history.

Popular Painter: Buy Paintings Online

Key Takeaways

  • Cornish artists like John Dyer, Joanne Short, and Ted Dyer have significantly influenced contemporary British and Cornish art, drawing inspiration from Cornwall’s landscapes and integrating modern and abstract painting styles.

  • Contemporary Cornish artists engage with pressing environmental issues and global concerns, utilising art as a medium for change and fostering educational initiatives like John Dyer’s Last Chance To Paint project.

  • The current art scene is a vibrant tapestry that reflects diverse narratives and it is also deeply influenced by historical art movements from the Renaissance to Cubism.

The Luminaries of Cornish Art 

paintings by John dyer and Joanne Short
Above: Original paintings by John Dyer and Joanne Short available for sale at The John Dyer Gallery

Cornwall has long been a muse for artists charmed by its ethereal light and rugged beauty. Among those who have translated this enchantment into their canvases are the renowned figures of John Dyer and Joanne Short. Each of these contemporary artists has not only contributed to the modern art scene but also carved out a niche that reflects Cornwall’s unique culture and breathtaking landscapes.

John Dyer, lauded as one of Cornwall’s best loved contemporary artist, holds the prestigious title of Artist in Residence at the Eden Project and is recognised as an official Artist for the Earth with in the USA. His vibrant works are a celebration of life, resonating with art enthusiasts and finding a home in the UK’s national art collections.

Ted Dyer, one of Cornwall's most well known Cornish painters today, with a career spanning over six decades, has become one of Cornwall’s most widely collected artists. His mastery of painting has garnered admiration, capturing the quintessence of Cornwall’s vistas with a depth and quality that set him apart.

New Artistic Possibilities Unleashed

The boundaries of traditional painting are being redefined as contemporary artists embrace new artistic possibilities, including contemporary painting styles like abstract paintings and pop art. Inspired by the raw paint and diverse materials available some of today’s young British artists are blending painting with mixed media to forge new expressions of fine art.

The Pulse of the Contemporary Art World 

In this segment we will examine some of the the most influential artists from the past that have affected today's art. Artists are not only exploring new frontiers of expression but also grappling with the environmental and political urgencies of our time. They create iconic works that define careers and engage in global residencies that expand their artistic horizons.

Iconic Works That Defined Careers

famous art influencers

Often an artist’s legacy is delineated by a single, unforgettable mark on the canvas of the art world. British artist David Hockney’s ‘Portrait of an Artist (Pool with two figures)’ etched his name into history with a staggering $90 million sale at Christie’s, underscoring his prominence as a cultural icon. Similarly, Peter Doig’s ‘White Canoe,’ sold for $11.3 million, set him apart within the art community, marking a career milestone and shaping his international acclaim.

An iconic painting of Marilyn Monroe by American artist Andy Warhol was auctioned in April 2022 for $195m (£158.17m) - making it the most expensive piece of 20th Century art ever sold at the time. The painting, 'Shot Sage Blue Marilyn', was painted by Warhol in 1964 using a famous photograph of the actress as his inspiration.

One of the most immediately recognised artworks, the Japanese wave painting ‘Under The Great Wave off Kanagawa’ has influenced the art world for two centuries. It was created in 1832 by Hokusai Katsushika, one of the greatest Japanese painters and printmakers of the 19th century. Besides being popular during Modernism, this artwork still influences many a Japanese contemporary artist and designer.

Environmental and Political Urgency in Art

Artists wield their brushes as tools for change, and none more so than John Dyer, whose work is a call for environmental action. His Last Chance To Paint initiative exemplifies this mission, serving as a free educational resource that has inspired over 50,000 children annually to engage in planetary stewardship.

Artist John Dyer working with Kenyan school children


John Dyer’s Last Chance To Paint project epitomises this pioneering spirit. By connecting children to the natural world and tribal culture, John expands the artistic narrative beyond the canvas, fostering a global dialogue on ecological challenges. By exploring the interconnectedness of tribal culture, wildlife, and environments, John Dyer goes beyond just painting landscapes; his paintings encourage a participatory approach to ecological solutions, intertwining artistic style with a call to action.

painting of the amazon rain forest by John dyer
Above: Original Painting by John Dyer. 'Rare - Spiritual Rebirth'. Amazon Rainforest

His expeditions, such as those in the Amazon rainforest, have produced some of his most famous paintings, which are now available for purchase online, allowing art aficionados worldwide to own a piece of contemporary art.

Artists and Their Residencies

Residencies are where and in which contemporary artists often find new inspiration and forge their distinctive styles. For John Dyer, these experiences have taken him from the local Cornish landscapes to the expansive rainforests of the Amazon, where he has produced some of his most famous paintings. His work, now available online, offers art lovers the chance to bring a piece of these journeys into their own homes.

Residencies, facilitated by global organisations and NGOs, underscore the role of artists like John Dyer, as ambassadors who transcend borders and cultivate a collective artistic and environmental awareness. Over the past 15 years John has travelled to many parts of the world working with these NGOs painting his way through the staple foods of the world such as rice in the Philippines, potatoes in Peru and bananas and cacao in Costa Rica.

crop paintings by John Dyer
 Above: Crop paintings of Peru, Costa Rica and The Philippines by John Dyer 

Landscapes and Contemporary Narratives

In the realm of Cornish fine arts, Ted Dyer stands as a beacon, illuminating the region’s landscapes with his evocative paintings. Born in Bristol but deeply rooted in Cornwall, Dyer has dedicated his life to capturing the serene beauty of the coast, with each brushstroke reflecting the tranquility of boats at rest and people basking in the landscape’s embrace.

His focus on Cornwall’s unique quality of light, a lifelong passion since his youth, translates into exquisite canvases that are treasured as the pinnacle of figurative art within the region. Dyer’s work, a celebration of Cornwall’s charm, serves as a narrative conduit between the artist and the viewer, inviting a contemplative journey into the heart of contemporary life. He has many collectors worldwide who love and admire his work.

Joanne Short offers her own unique style of painting working in flat areas of colour onto an orange background, which sets alight the landscapes and still lifes she paints. Her colourful flowers in the foreground allow a depth in the landscape behind as the viewer is drawn into the painting.

'Colourful Vases of Flowers, Helford’ painting by Joanne Short
Above: 'Colourful Vases of Flowers, Helford’ painting by Joanne Short

Through works like ‘Colourful vases of flowers, Helford,’ a 24x24 inches oil on canvas that captures the picturesque essence of Cornwall’s gardens. Through their unique blend of creativity and innovation, these artists have set the stage for a surge of new artistic possibilities, paving the way for aspiring artists and enhancing the art community.

The Influence of Great Masters on Contemporary Painters


open edition print of the Mona Lisa by Da Vinci
Above: Leonardo da Vinci Framed Open Edition Art Print. 'Mona Lisa'

The echoes of the great masters reverberate through the halls of the contemporary art world as today’s painters draw from the well of wisdom left by luminaries like Leonardo da Vinci, the painter of the Mona Lisa and his fellow Renaissance painter Michelangelo, who painted the Sistine chapel's ceiling. These iconic figures have bequeathed a legacy that inspires contemporary artists, who adopt and reinterpret the techniques and philosophies that have shaped the art world for centuries.

Van Gogh's Emotional Landscape

open edition print by Vincent van Gogh of Cyprus trees
 Above: Vincent Van Gogh Framed Open Edition Art Print. 'Wheat Field with Cypresses'

Vincent van Gogh, renowned Dutch painter, had a passionate approach to painting that has found resonance with contemporary artists. They emulate his expressive brushwork and use of vibrant colours to convey their own emotions and experiences. Van Gogh’s emotionally charged work, with its rich colours and bold textures, remains a source of inspiration for modern painters striving to portray the human condition through art.

Claude monet open edition print of water lilies
Above: Claude Monet Framed Open Edition Art Print. 'Water Lilies'. Giverny Garden

French artist, impressionist Claude Monet remains one of the world's most famous painters of his time and remains an influential figure across the art world today. He was a trail blazer in the art of 'plein air' painting.

John painting en plein air
Above: Artist John Dyer painting 'en plein air'

Similarly, John Dyer's approach to painting 'en plein air' - directly in the landscape - echoes Van Gogh's dedication to capturing the raw, immediate essence of his surroundings. John, known for his vibrant and distinctive style in his depictions of Cornish life, channels the same intensity and immediacy that Van Gogh brought to his canvases. By painting outdoors, he immerses himself in the environment, allowing the natural light, weather, and atmosphere to influence his work directly. This method not only enhances the authenticity of his paintings but also brings a dynamic and spontaneous quality to his art that resonates with viewers.

John Dyer painting of Great Western Beach Newquay
Above: 'Surfing and Sunbathing, Great Western Beach, Newquay' by John Dyer

John Dyer’s bold use of colour and expressive brushstrokes vividly captures the spirit of Cornwall, much like how Van Gogh’s works encapsulate the essence of the French countryside. Both artists use their surroundings as a profound source of inspiration, translating their emotional and sensory experiences into their paintings. The connection between Dyer and Van Gogh lies in their shared commitment to portraying the beauty and emotional depth of the landscapes they inhabit, using their art to connect viewers to the natural world in a deeply personal way.

Through his direct engagement with the landscape, John Dyer continues this legacy, proving that the act of painting in situ remains a powerful and relevant practice in contemporary art. His works stand as a testament to the enduring influence of Van Gogh’s approach, reminding us of the timeless connection between an artist and their environment.


As we draw the brush across the canvas of this exploration, it is clear that the Cornish art scene is a vibrant and evolving landscape. From luminaries like John Dyer, Joanne Short and Ted Dyer, who have captured the essence of Cornwall, to the contemporary artists who push the boundaries of expression, each has contributed to a rich cultural tapestry. Their works, influenced by the great masters and imbued with the narratives of contemporary life, remind us of the power of art to transcend time and place. It is in these brushstrokes and colours that we find a reflection of our world—complex, diverse, and beautiful. Let this glimpse into the world of contemporary Cornish art inspire you to see beyond the canvas, into the heart of creativity itself.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is considered Cornwall's best-known contemporary artist?

John Dyer is considered Cornwall's best-known contemporary artist for his prestigious titles and contributions to organizations like the Eden Project and

How has John Dyer contributed to environmental awareness through art?

John Dyer has contributed to environmental awareness through art by connecting children to the natural world and tribal cultures, inspiring action for the planet through his Last Chance To Paint project. He runs projects alongside Born Free and Eden Project running webinars to schools as a vehicle for children to learn about the environment through the use of paint.

What is the significance of Ted Dyer in the Cornish art scene?

Ted Dyer is one of Cornwall's most collected artist, known for his impressionist style paintings that capture the region's unique quality of light and the tranquility of its landscapes. His significance in the Cornish art scene is unparalleled.

Are contemporary artists' works available for purchase online?

Yes, contemporary artists like John Dyer and Joanne Short have made their works available for purchase online, making it possible for art enthusiasts to own a piece of contemporary Cornish art. Look at to find original paintings, prints and posters by artists John Dyer, Joanne Short and Ted Dyer. The John Dyer Gallery also has a collection of historical art prints available.

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