Journey from the Castle by the Lake
"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"