John Dawkins has spent a lifetime in art. He grew up living near the Thames Estuary, the proximity of which has greatly influenced his work in terms of inspiration and choice of subject matter. He drew from a very early age, and believes that sound draughtsmanship can enhance the quality of most visual art.
He trained at Southend College of Art, and although nurtured dreams of being a painter, realised that the practicalities of being able to earn a regular income, especially in his early years would have to be considered. He therefore trained in the specialisation of graphic design, whilst still pursuing his painterly instincts.
A career in design followed, mainly in London based design and advertising companies. He was encouraged into management roles in his early thirties, and with a young family and mortgage to support, found the temptation to accept irresistible, at first with some trepidation. To his surprise, he greatly enjoyed these new responsibilities. He was still working in a creative environment, but doing less and less of the actual creative work. He eventually started painting again, in his spare time for pleasure, and was soon exhibiting his marine paintings, inspired by a lifelong interest in maritime history, at South Coast sailing events. His work started to sell and commissions followed. He was soon exhibiting at The Mall Galleries in London with The Royal Society of Marine Artists.
He has exhibited too in his previous location of Southend-on-Sea, and latterly in his new home of North Suffolk, where he moved 18 months ago. His work has diversified to include not just marine and coastal, but landscape, townscape and transport painting too. He works mainly in acrylics and oils, but also produces finished pencil drawings.
His interest in the sea and ships has also drifted into the realm of model making. As with many of his generation, as a lad he built many plastic kits. Later in life, having seen museum quality model ships and finding the challenge of working in very fine detail irresistible, set about scratch building a handful of warship models. These were very time consuming, but nevertheless rewarding to construct. Most taking 400 hours each to build made it difficult to fit into his busy life. Only 4 were built over a period of 6 years, but all won medals in national, and in some cases, international exhibitions.