J o h n C a l d w e l l
Prior to my career as an artist, I worked in the pastoral industry for ten years, primarily in the outback of Queensland. The necessity of familiarity with the natural environment fostered a lifetime interest in the landscape, particularly wilderness areas.
An invitation from the Australian Antarctic Division in 1987 to visit Antarctica set a pattern for my work, which has continued ever since. This involves living and working on location and gathering the reference material — mainly in the form of sketching that informs the later studio work — so that the bulk of my output has related to specific regions. Primarily in mixed media on paper, texture and tone seem to take precedence over colour in my approach to the subject matter.
After leaving School, John Caldwell worked on pastoral properties for a decade and subsequently spent three years in London. Upon returning to Australia in 1972, he studied for an Arts Degree (hons.) at the University of New South Wales.
Since 1976, he has worked full-time as an artist, exhibiting throughout Australia and overseas. In 1984, he moved from Sydney to Blackheath in the Blue Mountains, where he still lives and runs workshops regularly.
Caldwell’s paintings are mostly mixed water-based media on paper, often on a large scale, and include portraiture, figurative and still life subjects. The main focus of his imagery is the natural landscape, where there is little or no evidence of human activity. Through regular working trips, he gathers the reference material that results in his finished studio work. Major solo touring exhibitions have followed time spent in Antarctica, the Ipswich coalfields and the granite country of northern New South Wales. Recently, he has worked in the Kimberley and Kakadu with exhibitions in the Blue Mountains and Darwin.
He is represented in the Australian National Gallery; Art Gallery of New South Wales; National Portrait Gallery, Canberra; Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery; S.H. Ervin Gallery; Regional Galleries of Bathurst, Brisbane City Hall, Newcastle, Gosford, Gladstone, Manning, Moree, Ipswich, Mosman and New England; The Australian Antarctic Division, Hobart, and the Robert Holmes à Court Collection, Perth.
His awards include the Art Gallery of New South Wales Trustees’ WatercolourPrize (1984, 1987); the Tattersalls National Landscape Award (1997, 1999); the 1986 Mosman Art Prize; the 2000 Sunday Mail Outstanding Landscape Award and theCrockett Art Prize(2007, 2008, 2009).
John Caldwell has been a member of the Australian Watercolour Institute since 1977, serving as Vice President from 1981 to 1984.