John Nicholson: Scottish painter Every one of John Nicholson's paintings is a hymn of praise to creation, whether it is the charm of rustic architecture in France or the silvery expanses of sand and sea of a remote Scottish beach. All attest to an eye that extracts and then distils the essence of the scene before him.
Although coming upon his work relatively recently, I have been captivated by the ease with which he paraphrases the complexities of nature. This is an ease, of course, born of natural talent and long experience.
His style is invariably direct, attractively robust, paying respects to the French Cubists, such as Cezanne in his desire to interpret nature by "cone, cube and cylinder". To this architectonic bias, one that is used to great effect in his very successful still-life paintings, is added those strong colours that are the legacy of the Scottish Colourists such as Peploe, Hornel and Ferguson. The golden light that pervades his landscapes of France, where he spends a considerable amount of time each year, immediately attracts and lingers in the memory.
Design-wise, John Nicholson has a good eye for the laws of successful composition with well-placed horizons in his landscapes and a masterly understanding of the negative spaces that make a picture sing. But it is to those evocative landscapes of Scotland that one invariably returns: whether it be the wide expanses of a Scottish loch, a rocky foreshore or a tranquil estuary. In all of these John Nicholson reveals himself as one of Scotland's most gifted artists.
Edinburgh, June 2008