John Whittall, Artist, LondonThis site reflects my work over the past forty years since I walked into Camberwell School of Art and Crafts and began my life as an artist.
Thanks to the foresight of my Headmaster at Fossdene Secondary School I was given the opportunity of attending Camberwell Art School once a week for life drawing classes. This was in 1963 when I was 16 years old. It was an invaluable experience and provided a wonderful foundation for my entry to the school as a Pre Diploma student two years later.
John Whittall, Artist, LondonFrom my earliest recollections my time was spent in the life room where the observation of the model created the building blocks that have stood me in good stead over the intervening years. The joy of those early years was the fact that some of our tutors: Francis Hoyland and Dick Lee worked in the studios alongside us. That was inspirational because as well as being superb artists they engendered the energy that drove us on. The tutor I spent most time with was Euan Uglow. He was constantly checking that II didn't waver in sound observation.
John Whittall, Artist, LondonI spent four years at Camberwell before being accepted as a post graduate student at the Royal Academy Schools . Unsurprisingly, my work continued in the magnificent life rooms. This time under the tutorlage of Peter Greenham amongst others. Peter said very little, instead he would take over your position and quietly draw in the corner of your work emphasising the areas that lacked good observation..
My years at art school were a sublime period when I was able to work with an uncluttered eye and with none of the anxieties that earning a living from your work can provoke.
Leaving art school I remember a tutor asking me what I planned to do, "Paint" I said and that's been my life ever since. To be honest it hasn't been easy but that sense of excitement whenever I face a new subject has never left me and I still regard myself as on a journey of discovery.
Brian Sewell, Art Critic,
London Evening Standard 20.9.99

"I first noticed John Whittall's paintings when he was a student at the Royal Academy Schools in the early seventies. Honest exercises in observation, they were painterly in the handling of brush and paint, cool in tone and scrupulously judged - characteristics that have remained constant in his work - and suggested an obstinate single-mindedness and old-fashioned professional determination rare in an age that was already crowded with young artists wedded to the fashionable cutting edge of art.
He has remained loyal to the traditions of the painter and has never abandoned the low technology of putting paint on canvas. I was not alone in my conviction that, though he might never achieve the notoriety of Hockney or Hodgkin, here was a painter who would paint until his dying day. Sir Brinsley Ford, one of this century's few great connoisseurs and collectors, saw the promise too, bought his pictures, and in his quiet way brought him to the notice of other private collectors of the same high seriousness.
Whittall's work will never be bought by the Tate Gallery, for it lacks the thrilling quality of elephant dung and the dead horse and deals with gentle subjects long familiar in art that discreetly please as lessons in seeing beyond that familiarity, touching us with nostalgia, but never sentimental. These paintings will never be the stuff of fervid controversy in incomprehensible art jargon; they are images with which to live in peace as they become old friends."
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