John Buxton: Historical Artist

This painting by John Buxton is full of possibilities; an early morning ride, a secret mission, or perhaps it’s the General’s horse, and they are heading into battle. Nothing gets in the way of the story; the drawing, the composition, the lighting, and the colors are all in perfect harmony. We can’t help but construct the narrative in our minds, and our imaginations take us away. “Full Moon” originated at a Kentucky photo shoot for a commissioned painting, where the artist spent the day driving oxen wagons through a creek. The young man with the horse provided the inspiration, and the artist transformed the image into a nocturne.

John Buxton is an historical artist. He has spent his lifetime producing art, whether as an illustrator or a fine artist. His paintings grace the walls of museums, he has garnered many national awards, and is a Living Master with the Art Renewal Center.

“The Agile Bark Canoe”, Oil, 22×34, Private Collection

The genre in which Buxton works is considered ‘Western’, however his paintings depict scenes from the 18th Century Eastern Woodland Frontier. These scenes are carefully researched, through reading, consulting with historians, and by actually visiting the sites he wishes to paint. He takes many photos of the landscape in order to accurately portray his idea. He then uses as many as 15-20 photos to capture his idea, then draws his image, adjusting the light and the figures as necessary.

“Great Falls of the Passaic”, Oil, 56×35, Private collection

With decades of art experience, John Buxton is able to create these scenes with lifelike reality. His technique varies somewhat based on what the painting may call for; he may begin with a toned canvas or a white surface, and his palette is determined by the needs of his subject. He prefers to work with alkyd oils for their fast drying time.

“Winter Windfall”, Oil, 22×34, Private Collection

He paints mostly on stretched linen canvas, and prefers flats or filberts of various sizes. To get an idea of how Buxton works, and the amount of research, thought and skill go into his paintings, watch his short video at

“Ox Wagon II”, Oil, 14×18, Private Collection

When asked for a few words of wisdom for our readers, here is John in his own words:

“…wisdom is supposed to emit from the tongue of someone my age , but ……
You have all heard it before : if you want to be the best at what you set out to be or do… then give it 100 % and don’t get sidetracked. Hopefully you have chosen something that you truly love … that perhaps you are a bit better at than average. Build on it. LEARN LEARN by DOING IT  over & over & OVER again. Your mistakes are your learning stages … cherish them. Remember , there are many many ways to be an artist … many many styles and concepts. Learn from as many as possible. Fill your art brain with as much knowledge as you can pack in. Years later it will pop out to solve some problem and amaze you. Most of all HAVE FUN along the way. It is an amazing life.”

“God’s Gift”, Oil, 36×21, Private Collection.

John Buxton’s work can be seen on his website at, and is represented by the Lord Nelson’s Gallery, Gettysburg, PA.

To see the NOAPS Best of America Small Works National Juried Exhibition go to

Written by Patricia Tribastone, NOAPS President

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