the joy that john mackie takes in his art can be felt by all who view his work, and reflects the dedication this artist has had to his work since his childhood. born in glasgow in 1953, he first fell in love with art when looking through his uncle’s sketchbook. he taught himself with art books from his school library, using matchsticks with chewed ends as makeshift paintbrushes.
mackie’s talent allowed him to attend an art college, although his working class upbringing and lack of funds meant he was set apart from many of his classmates. these challenges resulted in a resourcefulness and a resolution to succeed that saw him eventually being granted a travelling scholarship. this took him from his hometown of glasgow to the us and canada.
after his studies, mackie continued to travel in italy and france, taking in new sights and inspiration as he went. he made a point of continuing to paint on the street, as he had done while learning, in order to get a feel for the scenes, light, colour and movement he captured.
mackie still takes inspiration from the world around him, looking for new works to create. his work is sought after and renowned worldwide.
mackie’s work has clear links to great masters of the past, including a local connection the scottish colourists. at the same time, he brings a contemporary flair to his works that make them uniquely his own. the way he sees colour in every element of his composition is evocative of impressionism, with many comparisons having been made between his work and monet’s. mackie’s work, however, has the richness of his life experiences behind it, allowing him to truly trasport the viewer into scenes from real life.
in classic impressionist style, mackie utilises colour in every area possible, with blues and purples making up his shadows, and the full colour spectrum used to find each moment of perfect light. the scenes themselves provoke thoughts of mackie’s view of the world; through his years spent immersed in travelling and painting on the streets, he is able to capture the clamour of a weekend marketplace, or the soft hum of a sodium-lit street at night. his works are composed with a true sense of the action in front of him, the real people and lives that make up the world he sees.
mackie is also notable for his versatility when it comes to his scene choices. he is able to perfectly conjure the bright, sharp light of a winter’s day in a small english town, and the warm, sultry breeze of an evening in barcelona. as he says, he paints what he sees and feels, bringing insight and appreciation of his surroundings to each location he highlights.