Letter from Corinne Clement
I have a collection of John Donaldson paintings that spans two decades. The images provide me with a sense of connection to the things that Southern France means to so many of us; warmth and light; antiquity and gravitas; the melancholy beauty of vineyards, hills, gleaming waterways, red tiled roofs and cafes seething with activity. This has the look and feel of a life so close to ours yet so unlike. I have traced John Donaldson’s career since the 1980's and have learned a little about how this power to evoke place, mood, time is achieved. He spends days on end searching for places to paint. Sometimes the more obvious beauty spots will be passed over in favour of something even more telling because more understated: the quiet corners, scenes of the everyday that become profound because they crystallise an atmosphere, a reality.
I remember scenes of Summer captured on canvas: full of vibrance, colour and movement. There's a flower market in Aix-en-Provence; teeming cafes; fisherman and promenaders in Cassis. Sometimes, there is that delightful experience of dining under an awning outside a restaurant on a warm evening. Dark shapes move between a brilliantly-lit tables and umbrellas over glittering reflections on marble pavements. The work draws us in to so many scenes like this.
Knowing that I miss the rich diversity of French life, its architecture and its people, I have only to look at a John Donaldson painting to remind myself why.
Email from Peter Forbes
We have your painting Le Languedoc, shown on the home page of your web site, with the poppies, farm and sunny wooded hills.
I'm in another world when I look at the picture - so real, so warm.
Thankyou for a window on the world!