It takes time and effort to build a unique vision, to find and nurture your own voice. But if you look at a painting like this one you can see some of the rewards.
It’s an impression of an Autumn day. The fiery autumn colours are strong, layered and textured. Sunlight is slanting through the trees, creating areas of light and shade. A man, dressed against the coolness of the season, is bending forward over the sack he is filling. He is standing on a red carpet of leaves, looking small against leaves fallen and still-to-fall and trees that reach upward around him. The bend of his body is echoed in the bend of their branches. The slanting light picks out his figure, his rough wheelbarrow, and the trunk of the tree he works beneath, drawing our eyes to them. The branches of the nearest tree curve over him, bringing our eye back to where he stands when those layers of colour and texture draw our gaze away.
It’s a painting created by a man who knew the outdoors well, and who found his own way of understanding and sharing his understanding of it.
John Buxton Knight was born in the country, in Kent, in England. He began painting outdoors as a boy under the watchful eye of his father, an artist and art teacher. His father encouraged him to observe well and to find his own ways to paint what he saw. So the young Knight began to develop his own methods and ideas very early.
When, at twenty-two, he became a student at the Royal Academy Schools he already knew what he wanted to do and how he wanted to do it. Studying at the Academy was a way to learn things he did not already know, an opportunity to learn how to solve technical problems he had not found solutions for on his own.
Once he had completed his studies he took what he had learned and continued to do what he loved, painting outdoors, and to do it in the way he wanted to. He spent much of his life traveling through the varied scenery of the British Isles, observing, painting and learning wherever he was. The more he painted the more he learned, and the more he learned the better he painted.
It was an approach that allowed him to create a body of work with a unique, personal style.
And that makes him an inspiration for all artists.