“I enjoy painting things people can relate to,” John Weiss says, “perhaps because I can relate to them myself. They’re familiar things, part of an everyday life we can understand and enjoy.” Weiss developed this appreciation during his childhood in Akron, Ohio. His father was a draftsman to whom John credits his disciplined approach to art. He drew throughout his childhood and developed his skill in high school art classes. On a trip to Maine, he saw an exhibit of Andrew Wyeth’s work, which inspired him to pursue art while attending Kent State University. Weiss left college after two years to go into the landscape business, but he returned to full-time painting within four years. “My work is essentially self-taught,” he maintains. “I study the work of artists I admire and learn from their methods and techniques. I studied color theory by referring to a color wheel and mixing paints. Experience is the best teacher.” Weiss persevered with his study and his dedication has paid off. Today his paintings of dogs and of horses have an avid and loyal following. “Word of mouth has resulted in my works being sold all over the world,” he says. “There was even one portrait of a dog that was presented to Queen Elizabeth by Lady Barlow.” Weiss’ work is exhibited regularly and recently he won the “Cover of the Year” award from the National Dog Writers Association.
A recurring theme in his paintings, says artist John Weiss, is that "strength, comfort and encouragement are always within reach." Nowhere is this more evident than in his newest painting, A Big Fish Story. Although the woods are dark and the night is cold, the figures in A Big Fish Story are bathed in light and warmth. Seated before a blazing fire, a fisherman recounts tales of his fishing prowess to an awed boy and his captivated beagle. The heat of the fire and the excitement of his grandfather´s adventure have brought a flush to the boy´s cheeks as he watches the legendary fish grow in size. Their companionship and love create a warmth that floods beyond the walls of the shelter, casting a golden glow on the snowy ground and surrounding woods. The light at the heart of A Big Fish Story draws the viewer in, and we find ourselves leaning closer to hear just how big that fish really was.
As artist John Weiss remarked, “There’s nothing like sitting by the fire with your loyal dog curled up at your feet for a real sense that all is right with the world.”
. . . A heartbeat at my feet,” is how novelist Edith Wharton described her dog. A Feeling of Warmth is the perfect portrayal of both sentiments but we can also identify with this Golden, warming his back now and, in a little while, rising and turning to spread his belly along the heat of the fire.
“Did you ever notice that Goldens can lie in the snow with their faces buried, yet they never seem to get cold?” asks the artist. “Then they come into the house and lie so close to the flames you’d think they could catch fire. Extreme temperatures don’t seem to affect them much.” To paraphrase Charles M. Schulz, happiness is this warm puppy and this Anniversary Edition in your home will warm your long winter nights.
“Some of my paintings tell stories, some focus on man’s best friend and then there are those that capture the emotions of life,” says John Weiss. “One of the jobs of an artist is to share with the world the moments which can only be described through their medium. Anticipation is one of those paintings. When the early morning temperatures sink lower than that of the water of Portage Lakes, the fog creates one of nature’s most captivating moods. And it is out of this fog that the Black Labrador greets this pair of men in their bass boat.”
John Weiss’ favorite theme of companionship is beautifully realized in Autumn Friends, his latest release. Brilliantly combining colors and textures, Weiss creates an image that conveys emotion and humanity. The pair of friends in this image may be familiar to collectors who have seen his series of Grady images, including Old Friends, Forever Friends and New Friends —all Sold Out at Publisher. In Autumn Friends, Weiss captures a man and his dog on a crisp autumn morning as they set out for another of life’s adventures together as faithful friends.