History and bio

What you see in my paintings may be totally different from what I see.  But as long as they move you, in my mind, they are successful.  I have always been fascinated by the way light defines the world around me. Growing up in the country I relished the landscape.  It represents both a quiet oneness with and an escape from everything. I can find peace in the solitude, a connection to a visceral feeling of intense isolation that I feel is symptomatic of being human.   Through technique, subject and composition, I try to convey the beauty and power of the landscape and the way I feel it can charge one’s soul.    The successful  illusion of reality born by a sense of light manipulated in simple paint applied to a flat surface is true magic. And I believe that if it is successful it hits a truth that no photo will ever capture.  I marvel at Sargent and Velasquez,  the Ashcan painters, Sloan, and Luks, and Chase and so many more. They all were able to understand the beauty of paint, and so very directly capture a scene that is at once whole and completely convincing and yet nothing but paint.  That illusion is very similar to the magic obtainable in filmmaking as well. 

Awards: First Place Landscape, Philadelphia Sketch Club, Juried Small Paintings Show, 2017, The Whitemarsh Prize for Excellence, Whitemarsh Art Center, Juried Plein Air Competition, 2015; Honorable Mention -The Philadelphia Sketch Club Small Landscapes Juried Show 2013; First Place- Sugartown Juried Fine Arts Show, 2011; The Catherine Grant Award for Landscape 1982; William Emlin Cresson Special Commondation 1982; The Lambert and Emma Wallace Cadwalader Prize for Portraiture 1981.

John Dorchester is a multi-discipline artist/creator, currently residing on the east coast of the United States.  He grew up surrounded by the rolling hills of rural Chester County, Pennsylvania.   As an adolescent he had a keen interest in landscape painting and filmmaking,  studying painting with Nantucket artist, Warren Krebs, and filmmaking with Earl Fowler, whose famous brother, Jim, made nature films for Mutual Of Omaha’s “Wild Kingdom”.

John continued  his study of painting with Sydney Goodman, Lou Sloan,  and Jimmy Leuders at the Pennsylvania Academy of The Fine Arts, in Philadelphia where he graduated with honors and awards in 1982.

John was awarded many of

The Academy’s top awards

including the Emma Cadwalader

Prize for Portraiture, The Catherine

Grant Award for Landscape

and a William Emlin Cresson,

Special Commendation.

John has won accolades as a fine artist, musician, and a commercial filmmaker.  While concentrating on commercial filmmaking for nearly two decades he garnered six Telly Awards and one Addy Award.  As a musician, he was a quarter finalist in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN.  His latest album, Blue Delta, has gotten radio play around the world.

Throughout it all John has continued to pursue painting and has been recognized by juried shows in his native Philadelphia area and nationally.

John is represented in private and corporate collections in New York, Pennsylvania, Arizona, New Jersey, Maryland and British Columbia.

SHOWS:  OPA juried Salon Exhibition of Traditional Oils, Gainsville GA 2021; AIS Associate Members juried on-line exhibition 2021; 41st Ridgewood Art Institute Juried Exhibition Ridgewood, NJ, 2021, 107th Allied Artists of America Juried Show, Salmgundi Club, NY, NY, 2020; 37th Ridgewood Art Institute Juried Show, Ridgewood, NJ. 2019; OPA Juried Salon, Traverse City, 2018: Southern Allegheny Museum Of Art, Tradition and Innovation, 2018; PSC Juried Salon Show Of Small Oil Paintings, 2018, Bucks County Plein Air Juried Competition and show, 2017; PSC Juried Salon Show Of Small Oil Paintings, 2017, Group Show, Artisen Gallery, Phoenixville, PA, 2016, Oil Painters Of America National Juried Salon of American Painting, 2016;  Heron Crest Studios 2015; Philadelphia Sketch CLub Exhibit of Small Paintings, 2013; Squirrel Gallery,  2012, 2014, 2016; Whitemarsh Invitational Pleinair Show, 2015; Sugartown Invitational, 2010.

John caught painting by a man and his dog. Lancaster PA.  Photo by Kerry Sacco 2016

MEMBERSHIP:  OPA, Member, American Impressionists Society,Member. Allied Artists of America, Invited Member, Philadelphia Sketch Club, Member.