artist statement

Realistic expressionism is how I describe my work.  Capturing a mood, striving to tell a story, intrigued by history, landscapes and themes, these are the inspirations that create my work.  Emphasizing the play of light and shadow as seen in nature.  Describing textures of time written in historic places.  Capturing a moment of history, that sense of space.  These are the feelings I try to express in my paintings.  Each idea is carefully planned from exploration through execution.  Plein air painting, sketching, photography, using whatever means possible to achieve my vision.  Combining both opaque and transparent watercolors on heavy (300 lb) archival paper.  I work patiently, using established principles to create the final piece.  Hoping to express the beauty that inspired me.  ~John Bowen


about the artist

John Bowen has been an artist and illustrator for more than 45 years.  He first studied commercial art at the School of Fine and Industrial Arts in Newark, New Jersey.  After two years of experience in advertising agencies, he entered the United States Air Force as an illustrator.  His duties in the Air Force included a year of documenting airlift operations in South Vietnam, and his illustrations are on display at the Air Force Academy in Colorado.  Upon establishing a residence in South Florida, John discovered the many varied landscapes of the state containing the only subtropical climate in the U.S. and the wonderful lighting that Florida's climate affords.


John's background as an illustrator has made him a "detail" watercolorist of the highest order.  His experience allows him to convey the mood and story of the scene through the use of dramatic lighting and vibrant color.  A detailed drawing eventually morphs into a relaxed style of painting.  Working with watercolors has always intrigued John, and the challenge and excitement of this medium has never left him.


John paints to keep Florida's history alive.  "This is a passion with me," says the artist.  "I believe in keeping history alive by both painting it and helping to preserve it."  This he does by donating artwork and Giclee limited edition prints to the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, Miami, Florida charity art exhibitions of the Bonnet House, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, juried art shows for the Old Davie Schoolhouse Project, and a one-man art exhibit at the Fort Lauderdale Historical Society. 


"John's dramatic and detailed watercolors and prints of South Florida scenes invites you to indulge in a moment of tranquility," says Susan Gillas, Past Curator of Collections, Fort Lauderdale Historical Society.


John has exhibited at South Florida Community College, and the Coral Gables Country Club.  He has been a guest artist at the Jekyll Island, Georgia Art Association and has had a one-man show at the City of Sunrise Gallery.  He had a one-man show at the Lee Wagener Gallery in Terminal 2 of the Fort Lauderdale International Airport and exhibited at the Coral Springs Museum of Art.


"Mr. Bowen is an exceptional watercolorist who uses light and shadow beautifully to display Florida landscapes," said Coral Springs Museum of Art, Executive Director, Barbara O'Keefe.