CONTINUATION 1980 – 2020


Clement’s Garden, 3’x4′, oil on hardboard 1986

The artist/writer Clement Griffith has a large garden in North London. I began painting the above oil in mid-April 1986,  attracted by the long grass and dandelions. As time passed the flowers became clocks and the horse-chestnut leaves burgeoned to dominate the composition. The leaves seemed to accumulate light and emit an inner glow. People often say my pictures are like photographs, but if you look, you’ll see they’re not photo-realist: I never paint from photographs. My friend Susan Herivel gave an apter characterisation: Photosynthetic Realism.

Clement’s Garden in October, 1987 oil on canvas 4’x3′

As a full-time teacher, I continued painting and exhibiting work, but after the above two paintings were exhibited in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, I found a gallery that would buy and sell my work, and was able to limit teaching and devote more time to painting. Though I still used various red/green colour combinations, my colour became more nuanced and primaries seldom appeared. I came to regard my pictures as no more than drawings in paint.

To view galleries please click on smaller images:

Rainy days, Whitehall Park N. London , oil on canvas 3’x4′


The Artist’s Mother


Wild Garden with Fuchsia, oil on canvas 3’x4′

The garden belonging to my friend and colleague, Jackie Baker, has been an ever-changing subject for my paintings over many years. Jackie’s interest in natural history, as well as the large extent of her garden, inclines her to keep at least some of it in what I’ve called a ‘well neglected’ state.

Overgrown Rockery, oil on canvas 4’x3′
Brambles, oil on canvas 40″x30″

When painting ‘Brambles’ in Jackie’s garden, I was struck with the realisation that, while I am using a visual medium in analysing the light reflected from or filtering through the leaves, the plants themselves are also using light in the process, known as photosynthesis, upon which the ecology, economy, culture and consciousness of the earth depends, including my ability to exist here painting them.

Midsummer, oil on canvas 40″x30″

These paintings are close-ups of plant communities in the margins of cultivation and wilderness – plantscapes rather than landscapes. Gardens – small, fenced-off, owned areas of the planet – offer a sense of remoteness from the world, yet can play a unique ecological rôle.

In a London Garden, oil on canvas 4’x3′


To view galleries please click on smaller images:



Les Bouillons

Over the years the time I spend on each painting has got longer and longer. The finished ‘plantscapes’ result from my efforts to paint a particular changing scene on site within a particular time-span.

The Fishpool, La Fouberdière, Gratot oil on canvas 4’x5’4″ 2005
Wild Plants, Normandy 2007, oil on canvas 4’x5’4″
Painting ‘Wild Plants, Normandy, 2007
Half-wild garden near Hampstead Heath, oil on canvas 3’x4′ 2005
Garden La Trancardière Nov 2011 – February 2012 Oil on canvas 30″x30″
My most recent large canvas – ‘L’origine’, Gratot oil on canvas 2014 4’x5’4″

Self Portrait, La Trancardière, 2016

John N. Pearce


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