John Bodkin

I am primarily a painter, but I tend to think of myself as just an artist. I love to paint. No, I really love to paint. It is something that just wraps its arms around me. I have been painting for more than fifty years. I have painted over a thousand paintings I think. I work at it every day.  I think of it as my job. My process is somewhat methodical. My work is abstract and has been for many years. When people ask me where I get my ideas I tell them I paint what I see. It’s true.

I think that as a foundation to all else, you must be able to draw. I draw every day. It is not unlike a musician practicing his instrument. I look at it the same way. Most of my ideas come from my drawings. I find that exploring this way actually make me very free during the painting process. I always make a lot of changes during the process of painting. You see it must work as a painting…no matter what you planed. My large paintings are about 6×7 feet and the medium ones are 5×6 feet. I very much like painting with oil paint. It is what I was trained with in art school and Grad school and I am comfortable with it. I painted on wooden panels for a number of years and while I do like that surface, I really enjoy canvas. It is more practical for the larger works.

My work is very transparent in what it is all about to me and I am always surprised when other people ask me if it’s this or that. I translate life to visuals. I try to find an experience or moment that is universal and play it as a visual. I like employing patterns as an element to work with my drawing. I see patterns as a plane or form and even as a color sometimes. It is essential to keep exploring. It makes the work new and exciting every day.

I try to participate in as many shows as I can each year. I have a gallery in New York that has been very supportive. I am always looking for an opportunity to exhibit and my studio is a busy place. I often have people drop in along with artists friends and people interested in looking at or buying my work. We always have a good time.


Note: In keeping with the Artists & Makers Studios mission, which includes connecting with the community beyond our doors, we are pleased to highlight the exceptional work of artists, makers and other creatives within the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan region. In addition to our Resident Artists & Makers, we’re pleased to present another artist whose studios are “beyond our doors.”



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