John Pototschnik: Painter of the Sublime

NOAPS Pot Be Still My Soul - 30 x 40 - Oil - Highlands Art Gallery

“Be Still My Soul”, Oil, 30×40, Highlands Art Gallery.  Winner of ‘Best of Show’ in the 2019 NOAPS Spring Online International Exhibition.

Let out your breath a little, and enjoy the view.  This painting by John Pototschnik allows us to be a part of this peaceful, serene landscape, and allows us to lull into thoughtfulness.  The artist has used every tool at his disposal to give us this sense of placidity; from the composition, the value structure, the neutral colors with bits of brights, soft and hard edges, the vacillation of warm and cool to the perfect rendering of every part of the painting.  This masterful painting is one of many by this artist.

NOAPS Pot Of the Land - 12 x 16 - Oil - Illume Gallery  “Of the Land”, 12×16, Oil, Illume Gallery, St. George, UT.

The pursuit of art began in earnest for John when, after some interest in art during his high school years, and an attempt at business studies in college, he switched his major to illustration.  During a post-graduate four-year stint in the Air Force, he was able to take evening classes at the Art Center College, Pasadena, California.  He continued his study of art through reading, and most importantly, application (easel time!). He spent ten years as a freelance illustrator in Dallas, Texas, after which he began his full time career as a fine artist.  In 1992 John was awarded with the John Steven Jones Fellowship which enabled him to study at the Lyme Academy of Fine Art in Old Lyme, CT, with a focus on human anatomy.

NOAPS Pot Land of Abundance - 35 x 65 - Oil - Illume Gallery  “Land of Abundance”, 35×65, Oil, Illume Gallery, St. George, UT

John has had only one important mentor in his life; Ed Pointer.  He has been a guide in life and spiritual matters as well as art for more than 50 years. Most recently John has studied with Joe Paquet, and is greatly inspired by his work. For inspiration, John looks to paintings from the 19th century, in particular, the work of Camille Corot, Francois Daubigny, and Jean Millet.

NOAPS Pot Rural Hideaway - 25 x 28 - Oil - Private Collection  “Rural Hideaway”, 25×28, Oil, Private Collection

Currently, John works in oil.  His favorite genre is the landscape, both American and European, as well as cityscapes, small towns and farms.  Initially, he uses gessoed paper to create plein air studies, and takes photos of the scenes he intends to work into paintings.  He further develops the idea for the painting on the same type of gessoed paper, using various compositions and colors schemes.  For the final painting, he begins with a drawing using thinned raw umber paint, using his plein air sketches and photos for reference.  This underpainting is a fully developed monochromatic painting where he “captures the desired value range, and therefore an accurate representation of the mood.  When that is dry, color is applied matching the values already established in the monochromatic underpainting.”  Working on canvas or gessoed board with a variety of brushes, his palette generally consists of one color from each of these primaries: Ultramarine Blue or Cobalt Blue; Alizarin Crimson or Cadmium Red or Cadmium Red Light; Lemon Yellow, Cadmium Yellow Light or Cadmium Yellow Pale, plus Titanium White.  Other pigments that might be chosen to replace those above would include Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Terra Rosa, Indian Red or Ivory Black.

NOAPS Pot At the Edge of Town - Step 1  NOAPS Pot At the Edge of Town - Step 2

NOAPS Pot At the Edge of Town - Step 3  NOAPS Pot At the Edge of Town - 24 x 30 - Oil - Illume Gallery[22959]

Step by Step Process for “At the Edge of Town”, 24×30, Oil, Illume Gallery, St. George, UT

John’s strong connection with nature is grounded in his search for peace from the noise of our contemporary lives.  The title for his winning painting, ‘Be Still My Soul’ was taken from a Christian hymn written over 260 years ago by Katharina von Schlegal.  While being quiet with nature, John finds the opportunity to be a part of the stillness, to contemplate the “big questions about God, creation, and our purpose and place in the world.  That’s the place I like most to be.”  To read more about the winning painting, in John’s own words, go to

Through his commitment, talent and hard work, John has been able to support his wife of 48 years and his family with his art.  He has some sage advice for readers: “1. Decide what type of art you want to do. 2. Find one or two artists that do that type of work and learn all you can from them and apply it.  3. Stop hopping around from workshop to workshop.  4. Be patient, work and and persevere, because there will be times of discouragement.  Only those that don’t give up succeed.”

NOAPS Pot Staying Home - 16 x 27 - Oil - Southwest Gallery  “Staying Home”, 16×27, Oil, Southwest Gallery, Dallas, TX.

John Pototschnik is represented by Abend Gallery, Denver, CO; Highlands Gallery, Lambertville, NJ; Illume Gallery, St. George, UT; Mary Williams Fine Art, Boulder, CO; Southwest Gallery, Dallas, TX; and Wylie Fine Art Gallery, Wylie, TX.  To view more work by the artist, visit

To view the 2019 NOAPS Spring Online International Exhibit, visit

Written by Patricia Tribastone, NOAPS Blog Director


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