John Charlesworth





John Charlesworth is an [un]conventional easel painter, employing acrylic paint on canvas or wood. He blends the often harsh, unnatural acrylic spectrum to a softer, warmer coloration, more akin to oils. He never uses raw, unmixed pigment. Even his whites have a small admixture of other colours, principally red and yellow, otherwise they would look stark, cold and unbelievable.

His subject matter is largely drawn from his imagination, which he feeds continually with observations from the real world. He favours animals for the intriguing shapes they make and as vehicles for ideas and emotions and such. Advertising and films nowadays are awash with anthropomorphism, much of it very well realised and funny. He is in a similar game, he says, but in the setting of a formal painting there is scope for painterly values missing in those other media, and the possibility for greater depth and gravitas.

“I paint a largely benign world, a friendly planet, but one that is necessarily threatened in some way, as all worlds are. Childhood is just such a beleaguered idyll and dreams are not insulated, either, from the incursion of stark reality.”

Some notes from the artist on the paintings shown above

ISLAND OF LOST SOULS (36” x 24”) – £1800

The character in the foreground is alienated by the combination of the loss of his immediately previous life, which catered for his need and aspirations, and a shrinking from present company, from the human factor common to both, something grown harsh and resistant.

It sounds cryptic – it can’t be otherwise.


The character from the aforementioned island (not shown) divorces this place within himself, uses it as an antidote. A mad and manic place but underpinned, if not exactly with fun, then with need and urgency.

CROSSROADS (22” x 23”) – £1600

Different characters, or different representatives of characters, and in a different set of circumstances, further along the road. Where to go next? Symbolic now, rather than cryptic.

The artist adds; “none of these texts is necessary to read these paintings”