John Knapp-Fisher was a Welsh master of the watercolour for over 50 years and it was with great sadness that we heard of his passing early in 2015. He liked to use a limited palette seeking what he called "the edge of colour", where earth colours and touches of primary colour emerge from the darks and where tonal relationships, quality, texture and contrasts are all important."
After studying graphic design and typography at Maidstone College of Art, he became involved in theatre design .The artist was influenced in his early years by John Piper , Ben Nicholson and Christopher Wood. From 1960, Knapp-Fisher lived and exhibited from his sea-going fishing boat, for five years, exploring the rivers and estuaries of the South and East Coasts of England. Many of his early work depict scenes close to Woodbridge in Suffolk, where is sister lived. He has exhibited widely in England, Wales, Europe and Africa. Few realise that his largest exhibition was in South Africa in the 1970's when over 60 works were on show. This period of work is particularly interesting with burnt oranges,browns and yellows used to depict the scorched grasslands.
John Knapp-Fisher was elected a member of the Royal Cambrian Academy in 1992 and his work is in a number of public and many private collections. His lifelong love of boats and the sea: he built them, sailed them and lived aboard one for several years, is reflected in much of his work -be it from whatever period in his life- as is the Pembrokeshire landscape, where he lived and worked from 1965 until his death in 2015. Indeed, his name became synonymous with Pembrokeshire landscape painting and although born in England he was taken into the hearts of the Welsh and is quite rightly considered as one of their own .
When he first moved to Wales with his wife and 2 children he lived on the Carmathenshire / Pembrokeshire borders and was taken with the wet and loneliness of the hills - but the public do not immediately take to his work. He decided , after 2 years of poor sales , to find somewhere that he could live , work and sell to the public at the same time and decided to explore the area from Fishguard to St Davids in Pembrokeshire. His love of boats and the sea led him to Porthgain which features in much of his work, and he found a property nearby at Croesgoch where the old cowshed became his studio. The rest is , as they say, history as both his sales to the public grew year on year and he had many happy years there.