John Martin Borg took up watercolour painting after graduating in
Pharmacy from the University of Malta back in 1977 and exhibited his
first works in 1979. Since then his works have gained recognition both
locally and abroad.
The artist’s work is decidedly eclectic. He derives inspiration from
numerous and varied sources. Since he was born and bred close to
Ta’Xbiex, he developed a strong affinity for sea craft and the sea. He
is also a lover of the countryside and of the subtle changes in mood
it imparts. In order to capture the essence of these elusive moods he
has mastered the art of plein-air painting. Painting on location is a
unique experience, not only resulting in a spontaneous works of art
but also giving pleasure to all the senses. John Martin’s favourite
time of day is early morning and one may often encounter him at crack
of dawn, laden with his easel, colours and a various selection of
watercolour paper, brushes and other equipment, on his way to some
favourite spot by the sea. In autumn the allure of the countryside is
strong. The cloudy skies and freshness of the grass after the long dry
summer are irresistible. This is when the artist in him comes to life.
Painting en plein air is certainly no picnic. The experience however
is exhilarating. The works produced are true gems, sometimes ethereal,
sometimes defined, sometimes muted and sometimes dramatic – all full
of life and all impart the freshness of the outdoors, somehow drawing
the viewer into the scene. John Martin Borg affirms, “I always
believed it was these magical moments that are the real energy that
has fired the artists in me.”
As John Martin Borg’s career progressed, he began experimenting with
other subjects. His street-scenes, gardens, churches and buildings
exude a unique charm. He also experimented with different media such
as acrylics. This resulted in large bold abstracts characterized by
radiant colours, many of them concealing a deep spiritual meaning.
They are paintings flooded with light, colour and contrast.
Last, but definitely not least, one must mention John Martin Borg’s
unique spiritual works. One eminent art connoisseur once referred to
them as modern icons and they carry many of the characteristics of
traditional icons including the profuse use of gold. They all have
profound spiritual significance and invite the viewer to meditate on
the particular episode each depicts. One particular aspect of these
paintings is that during their creation the artist finds himself on a
journey of self-discovery which inevitably leads to his continuous
discovery of God.
John martin Borg has been on a long and fruitful journey, one that is
very much still on-going. He still devotes a fair amount of time to
experimentation. He also organizes workshops and enjoys sharing his
expertise with up-and-coming artists.