Jour­ney from the Cas­tle by the Lake

Arabella - - NEWS - Brett An­ning­son

"In the cor­ner of the room, high on the wall at my Grand­mother’s house in Eng­land, hung a small paint­ing," re­calls John Stu­art Pryce. "It was a scene of a lake with trees and pos­si­bly a small cas­tle at the edge of the wa­ter. The colours were rather dull, but with a pleas­ant spec­trum of or­anges, yel­lows and darker greens. It may have been a re­pro­duc­tion, but as a child I did not know the dif­fer­ence. Ev­ery time we vis­ited, I re­mem­ber star­ing at that paint­ing." This rec­ol­lec­tion comes from a child­hood where art con­tin­ued to hold a par­tic­u­lar fas­ci­na­tion. John was eight years old and liv­ing in Birm­ing­ham when he first at­tempted to draw. There was a fam­ily nearby with older chil­dren who al­ways seemed to be draw­ing and trac­ing car­toon char­ac­ters, so John gave it a try, and was pleas­antly sur­prised by how quickly he caught on. Even more so, that he could do it bet­ter than the older kids. Then there was his cousin Ray­mond, who was on his way to be­com­ing a suc­cess­ful artist, him­self. Ray­mond had done some black and white draw­ings of wrought iron steps and rail­ings as part of his ad­mis­sions pack­age for Birm­ing­ham Art Col­lege. That work so im­pressed John that he can still close his eyes and see the in­tri­cate de­tail – still re­mem­ber the way the iron wound around. "A few years later, my fam­ily im­mi­grated to Canada and lived in Toronto for a few months," John ex­plains. "Dad found em­ploy­ment in Lon­don, On­tario and within a short time we were liv­ing in a farm house near Ilder­ton, a few miles north of the city. The long Cana­dian win­ters al­lowed me to spend time do­ing what I really en­joyed and that was draw­ing and paint­ing. A few years later, I was able to study as an art ma­jor at H. B. Beal Tech­ni­cal and Com­mer­cial High School in Lon­don, On­tario." This was a school that firmly grounded him in the ba­sics of art, colour, com­po­si­tion and life. John re­mem­bers it as a time when he learned the dis­ci­pline nec­es­sary to suc­ceed, and also gath­ered the foun­da­tions he would con­tinue to build on dur­ing his en­tire life.

pre­vi­ous spread, Shim­ming Cove, oil on can­vas, 36" x 48" above, The Cove, oil on can­vas, 24" x 36" right, Gold at the Shore­line, oil on can­vas, 36" x 24"

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