John Bryce SWE,RE
John was born in London in 1934. At school, John studied Science to advanced level but a wonderful art teacher introduced him to painting and wood engraving. Choosing between art and science was a dilemma, but he decided to study mechanical engineering at King's College, London. Graduating in 1956, he entered the Royal Aerospace Establishment, Farnborough, where he carried out exciting research work on projects such as Concorde. This challenging technical work had an unexpected influence on his art. During the ten years or so before retirement, he was granted permission to sketch engines in the test cells and aircraft on the airfield. He used these sketches to create paintings for the Guild of Aviation Artists annual exhibitions and was a member of the Guild for 18 years. On retirement, John decided to pursue an active career as a painter and printmaker.
John is largely self taught and attaches great importance to developing artistic skills by the rigid discipline of drawing and painting directly from the subject. He paints mostly in watercolour and creates original print images through the challenging medium of wood engraving, often using his sketches as an inspiration for the graven image. His paintings, usually half to a quarter imperial size, display a direct style in which he tries to capture the fleeting effects of light and shade in the sky and the landscape. His wood engravings, unique to the Wapping Group, involve cutting a precise mirror image onto an endgrain boxwood block. This is then inked and printed onto paper to produce an original, limited edition print.
John was elected a member of the Wapping Group of Artists in 2003 and is also a member of the Society of Wood Engravers (SWE). IN 2010, he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers (RE) based at the Bankside Gallery, London. Apart from regularly exhibiting with the Group, he has shown at the Royal Academy and at open exhibitions of the RWS, RBA, RSMA, RI and NEAC at the Mall Galleries, London. He also shows at Lincoln Joyce Fine Art, the New Ashgate Gallery and the London Original Print Fair. Awards include runner up in the Royal Academy Newcomers Prize 2007, the Baker Tilly Watercolour prize at the RWS Open Competition and various wood engraving prizes at the RE and Mall Galleries. He features in the books "The Wapping Group of Artists - 60 years of painting on the Thames" and in "Printmakers' Secrets" by Anthony Dyson. His article "Wood Engraving" was published in the February 2016 issue of the Artist magazine.
The Wapping Group sketched the restoration of the clipper ship "Cutty Sark" at Greenwich and John's painting "Conserving the Cutty Sark" is displayed in the new gallery under the refurbished ship and also in the guide books. He also created many original wood engraving and lino cut original prints based on his experience of recording the ship's conservation.
When painting by the riverside, John revels in the beauty of nature and its changing moods, the interplay of light on the water and the wonderful skies . He tries to capture the mood swings as the the great Turner did in his wonderful watercolours. Another hero is Eric Ravilious, who was both a very fine watercolourist and wood engraver. In the future, John wants to further develop his skills in painting and printmaking and produce creative art works for the public to view and enjoy.