This week, we have another first-time Dan’s Papers cover artist: painter, sculptor, musician and Montauk Skatepark Coalition president John Britton. Here, he discusses his October 14, 2022 cover art, “Tractor at Amber Waves,” and his passion for capturing the beauty of East End landscapes.
A Talk with Artist John Britton
What inspired you to paint “Tractor at Amber Waves” and was this done plein air (on location outdoors) or in your studio?
The “Tractor at Amber Waves” was one of a series of paintings I did featuring classic East End vistas. This was one of three paintings I did of Amber Waves farm. I did a series of sketches, and in this case I did the final oil painting in my studio. I prefer to work from life, but sometimes the moment passes and I work in the studio.
How did you decide on the painting’s composition and other design details?
The star of the painting is the tractor. It has a whimsical character that almost reads as something out of Dr. Suess. With its wonderful headlight eyes and jaunty wheels, the tractor embodies a mechanical cool that fits well within the East End farm
What do you find most enjoyable or fulfilling about painting East End landscapes?
The East End not only has special light (particularly in the fall and in the daybreak and sunset hours during summer), it also has many vistas with low tree cover, especially east of Napeague. Relative to the rest of New York and New England, this is unusual and allows for a greater visual impact in landscape vistas. And the sunset skies from the Shadmoor (State Park) are almost too beautiful to believe, at least in the sense of capturing them in a painting. We are blessed to live in an area where the natural world shows so much stunning beauty.
This is your first artwork featured on a Dan’s Papers cover, yes? What compelled you to submit this wonderful painting?
To me, this embodies the best of the East End: The ties to the farming and agricultural heritage of this place; the uncluttered and unbusy tableau; the focus on nature and an old-fashioned mechanical contraption set among the green of summer growth. If only all the summer out east could be this zen!
Not counting this cover, what is one artistic achievement that you’re proud of?
I was proud that my last show at Agora Gallery in Manhattan sold well and was enthusiastically received.
What is one short-term or long-term artistic goal you’d like to achieve?
I am fortunate to split my time between New York City and Montauk. When I am out east, I almost exclusively paint landscapes, which I do very rarely in New York. I have done about 100 paintings and drawings of East End landscapes, but I feel I have only scratched the surface. I feel that each one I do deepens my connection to this place, and I want to continue to build this body of work.
Would you like to share any closing thoughts or additional information?
It is an honor to have my work featured. Montauk and the whole East End give me so much, and it’s a pleasure to try to capture that spirit in drawings and paintings.
See more of John Britton’s work at johndbritton.net.
Local artists who believe their art would be a good fit for a Dan’s Papers cover may send high-resolution works to [email protected] for consideration. If one of your pieces is chosen in the weeks that follow, you’ll be contacted about the confirmation and your Honoring the Cover Artist feature.