Meet The Artist: John Stillman

Fri 3/Mar/23

Meet The Artist: John Stillman


Painting of a pond and landscape with the text 'Meet The Artist: John Stillman'


In this blog, we talk to local Artist John Stillman about who he is and what inspired his exhibition 'From The Sky Down'.


Visit From The Sky Down at Honeywood Museum, Thursday - Saturday until 5 November 2022. Artwork will be available for purchase.


Introduce yourself, tell us about yourself?

My name is John Stillman and I have been painting and drawing from an early age. For the past sixteen years, I have been lucky enough to paint full-time and organise my life around painting and exhibiting. I cannot quite believe that my painting journey is still ongoing, but pleased it is, it remains a precarious way of earning a living.
I was born in Carshalton on June 6th 1968 and have lived here all my life. I grew up near Butter Hill and spent many happy days playing along the River Wandle and Grove Park as well as Beddington Park. As a keen naturalist, I was always looking and observing the natural world from bird watching to collecting bugs and butterflies. So the natural world has played a big part in my life and still does, which also led me to picking up a pencil and paintbrush and want to record what I was seeing.
That is really where it all started out and about in the local parks and wasteland with a sketchbook and pencils.
Photo of the artist painting a coastal landscape on an easel

What inspired the From The Sky Down Exhibition?

A new book really...I wanted to produce a second book of my paintings as it had been 10 years since my first book ‘The Paintings of John Stillman’ had been published and felt that it was about time to put together a collection of work that best represented the past 10 years plus to add to the story of the previous book.
It was only on reflection when looking through all of my notes and references for my first book that I was well aware of how much I had left out, and even forgotten about. I felt I should revisit some of the memories that I feel have led me to follow a career in art.
Deciding on a title for any book is always a daunting task and I felt I needed to look at my working methods and then the title may come from the process. The sky has always been the starting point when painting my landscapes. I find that once the sky has been established the overall feeling and mood of the painting tends to be set. And as a general rule I seem to paint from the sky down.
So that’s how I arrived at the title From the Sky Down not only for the book but also the exhibition.
Landscape painting of a pond and church

What can people expect from this exhibition?

They can expect a varied selection of paintings from local scenes to landscapes of Umbria to the Algarve as well as Brighton and the Isle of Wight. It really doesn’t have a theme at all this show as it is probably the most varied exhibition of my paintings that I have put together. The reason for this is that over 90% of the paintings are featured in the new book ‘From the sky down’, so it is a great opportunity to acquire an original painting that is in the book. 
I will also have a selection of paintings from private collectors that are also featured in the new book that have not been seen before. So all being well there will be something for everyone to view and enjoy.
Triptych of landscape paintings, a bay full of boats, a flower garden and a snowy field

Have you got any exhibition highlights?

The exhibition itself really, it's difficult to pick highlights as every painting on show means a lot to me as each one tells its own story.

What do you enjoy about displaying your work at Honeywood Museum?

Honeywood has played a big part in my life. My mum and dad had their wedding reception there after being married at All Saints Church and my first solo exhibition was held there in memory of my dad in 2001. So all in all not only is it the centre of Carshalton it has been the venue that kick started me exhibiting as a local artist. So for me its good to be back!

Find out more about Honeywood Museum and about other exhibitions and events taking place at Honeywood Museum, Whitehall Historic House and also in Sutton's Libraries.


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