Looking now at John’s drawing materials; pencils, pens and inks, pastels, conté-crayons, fixative, sketchbooks, drawing boards, cut down sheets of coloured sugar paper, is likely to prompt strong feelings of nostalgia for his grown up children. The look, feel and smell of these things can easily evoke memories of John setting off, on foot or in the family car to somewhere he had an idea there would be a view he wanted to draw.
It was important to him to draw from life, concentrating intently on the way all the elements of a particular landscape on a particular occasion: horizon, clouds, shadows, buildings, furrows in fields, water surfaces, trees, were organised in front of him and how he could translate these into a composition on the paper. Like the landscape artists he most admired, Pissarro, Constable and Corot among them, he would draw rapidly to capture quickly the changing patterns of light. Though the drawings could be used as an aid to his painting, he clearly valued the process of working on them for its own sake, a way of relating to the world and reality through his eyes and hands, and his knowledge of things in the world and of art.