Studio 44 - John Blanchard


Category / Medium:  Paintings / Drawings - Watercolor, Oil

Favorite Nearby Restaurant:  Piccolino Italian Restaurant







The Santa Fe Studio Tour is honored to have painter John Blanchard on the tour. John specializes in oils, watercolors, and artworks on paper. Hailing from Michigan, John started painting at an early age, thanks to parents who left him unaware of the dangers of putting a solvent based medium in the hands of a twelve-year old and has juggled the “transformative range of oil paint ever since.” His large oil paintings of people, inspired by Vermeer and Rembrandt, emphasize personality types or archetypes, particularly “the political aspect of Man.” Each specific figure will “underscore what the painting is about.” 

John also works in watercolor and says “When I got into doing more watercolor, I loved the land, so that was a way to paint the land with watercolor.” His watercolor work reflects the influences of many painters, including Winslow Homer, Frederick Remington, and Charles Russell. He is also a great admirer of the illustrator Norman Rockwell.

Many of his oil paintings are quite large because they “have more impact”, but many of his watercolors are small. His color choices fit into a “certain muted color palette; life is kind of a muted palette.” He believes generally “you don’t see bright reds or bright oranges out there in the real world.” In terms of future directions, he sees himself focusing on the “same kinds of things…and the same driving force that has been pushing me along the same path.” 

Credit: Brian Edwards, 2020

Watercolor is of the moment. When it works it is fresh and luminous, with the purest sense of color.  The immediacy of it moves with the changing flow of light.  My purpose is to use watercolor to my advantage in capturing the vast and charged landscapes in the West.  

Idea occupies a central role in the creation of my visual presentation. For me if a painting or drawing does not provoke, stimulate, then it is merely a 2-dimensional design.

My concern is with man, as conceiver: politically, socially, economically, religiously and spiritually and as destroyer: politically, socially, economically, religiously and spiritually. I see man as a face concealing two beings; man as conceiver and destroyer with mythic forging of history, with the elucidation and obfuscation of man himself, as a monument builder and a gravedigger, an image in stone yet still malleable. I produce an image of man as uncompleted and I do this as a visual riddle in paint, with inductive brush strokes on pellucid surfaces.

I feel I have an intimate relationship to the media I choose, as if it is my nature and yet, media is incidental to image and subordinate to idea. It is truly just a medium, a vehicle, a transport between conception and actualization. In the end though, media and idea become fused and it is Art… well, that is my intent.