Cornwall LivingIssue #146

In the moment

We catch up with an artist whose passion is to capture feelings of tranquillity and calm on canvas.

Engaged in the frenetic pursuit of our goals there comes a moment of stasis when we can’t help but reflect. It may be at a seminal moment such as a marriage, the birth of a child or simply when suddenly greeted by a breath-taking vista. We take a pause, and then it’s back into the maelstrom. That moment of reflection recedes into the background and becomes a full stop and then a comma, a punctuation mark in the story of our lives. 

However, there are those among us who feel duty bound to hold that moment, to capture it in words or, in John McKinstry’s case, on canvas. He is a person who is moved to create by an acute sense of place – be it out walking around the small harbours that dot the coast, over moors or when encountering solitary farmhouses and cottages. The aspiration is to recapture the emotion felt at the time rather than to replicate the actual scene like a photograph. So, where John can be said to fall under the heading of a ‘representative artist’ there is something more going on – his desire to share with us feelings induced by what he’s seen. Not any scene though; there is no angst-driven desire to portray a vision of discord or disharmony. He wishes to guide us to a point of serenity. 

Tucked away in one of Cornwall’s many quiet riverside hamlets he reflects: “I am forever grateful to have such a wonderful wealth of inspiration around me and if I can capture just a small part of that on canvas then I am more than happy.”

Talking to John, we soon discover that the path to this point in his life has been facilitated by a working life in horticulture, which has enabled him to embrace life’s highs and lows and build a space both physically and mentally to share an appreciation of peace via his empirically based art. There is no pretension here.

Creating for over ten years now, he exhibits across the UK. Original pieces are available to buy from selected galleries as well as his own website. Should you want to engage with John and have him capture your own tranquil spot on canvass, then he welcomes commissions.


07443 603143