the work of John Henshaw

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With his Grandfather John Armstrong 1954 

Welcome to this website of pictures by John Henshaw, who likes to travel and who never quite arrives. If you have strayed in here with five minutes to kill, on the off-chance of a surprise, you'll soon discover that the paintings and drawings operate at much the same pace as you, one frame leading quickly to the next, each from a longer animated sequence of sketches of street scenes, harbours, poolsides, the elements merging in the painter's head, cycads into cadillacs and so on. 

It's been like this for years: sketchbooks, rough-pads, storyboards, collages accumulating in drawers. And from time to time, as on this occasion, there will be some bigger paintings, rescued from the rush on a September afternoon, but elaborating the paciness of the first drawing more than any stillness in the idea. So that you are left with the same elegant swish of the hand only more of it, more square inches of the same fleeting improvisation - bend in the road, island in the stream. 

One of the tests of middle age - this is probably only a masculine affectation - is for a man to reach some sort of accommodation with himself. He'll do it out of regret that things won't get any better, now that the brain and the heart are shrinking, or in a spirit of transformation - because some alternative may yet be possible, fulfilment say in vegetables or small cigars. The hardest part is coming to terms with those of God's gifts he has tried for so long to push aside because somehow they seemed to have been intended for someone else.                                               
So this site may be one of those little moments of truth. The paintings and drawings may be haunted by death shapes and soul shapes - no doubt, these yachts at anchor are the spirits of the dead, the cars are coffins and bullets, the cactus stands for sexual anguish, - they all lean towards the dark, but the pursuing shades are always glimpsed through a cafe window, across a turquoise bay, at the sweet angle of smooth converging boulevards.They are sensual and pleasing. He just can't help himself.

Kevin Mount :Writer/fine artist/research editor and publications designer Dartington

John Henshaw was born in Middlesborough in 1949. He took an Art Foundation course at Middlesbrough Art College under the direction of  painters Jo Cole & Tom Wall before studying at Leeds College of Art. After working in industry for several years, he began painting again in 1975.
This site includes recent work inspired by travel in the UK, Europe and America, where he has been working and exhibiting. Mixed exhibitions include the Pyramid Arts Centre Gallery, Rochester NY USA (1996), Five Painters  John Hansard Gallery, Southampton (1983), and The Southern Arts Show, Winchester (1982).Henshaw has had several solo exhibitions, including Studio B, Bristol (1993) and Atlantis Gallery, London (1983), The Camden Works Museum, Bath (1986), Templeton College, Oxford (1992). 

Awards received include Southern Arts Major Bursary in Painting(1981-2), Mendolson Art Award (1983), and an Oppenheimer Award (1984). His work is in several public and private collections both in the UK and abroad.He continues to live and work between Southern France and the UK.