John David Anderson – Friday Night Guest – April 14, 2023

John David Anderson – Friday Night Guest – April 14, 2023

(Submitted by Taline Kavoukian)

John David Anderson is a Canadian plein air painter, born in Orillia. John offered his first workshop for DVAC twenty years ago, and has returned a number of times. As always, we were delighted to welcome him back for another inspiring and educational evening.

In his earlier years, John was inspired by A.Y. Jackson, Glen Loates, and Andrew Wyeth. His interests and exposure soon broadened to European and North American Impressionists. John follows the light to engage the viewer emotionally in the painting.

John generously shared his skill and knowledge of painting with a demonstration of painting from a photo reference. His three rules are:

  1. Identify three to five shapes (not things!) in a range of values to tell an interesting light story.
  2. Develop control of edges and appreciate this most undervalued aspect of a good painting.
  3. Develop an understanding of how to use colour temperature: the light touching or bouncing off something is a warm colour. If the light misses the surface completely, it is a cool colour. Warms usually dominate a painting, but we need both warm and cool!

Among the many valuable painterly tips we were treated to were the use of diagonals in composition, the underpainting as a way of “flavouring everything on top, and the use of red in all greens. John says he uses Terraskin as a surface because the smooth surface helps shadows retain their depth. He also favours flat brushes for their flexibility over brights, and for their more defined mark-making over filberts.

Currently, John is a very busy teacher and artist. He leads plein air workshops at the Haliburton School of the Arts, as well as at other schools and locations. He also leads painters on art trips to Europe, and has exhibited at numerous galleries. For more information, please visit his website at