John Comer has been painting since he was a boy. His dedication to painting and surfing has been the driving passion of his life. A true waterman, he also spent many years sailing & fishing commercially.
Comer's professional career began in 1968 with his first solo gallery exhibition and has been intermingled with sailing and painting voyages to the Caribbean, Central America, Islands of the Pacific and Africa. As a sailor he came to appreciate the importance of the atmosphere in a painting. “The weather is the important thing... it affects what you see and don’t see - colors, values and shapes.”
In the tradition of plein-aire painters who have celebrated early California, his work is distinguished by a level of craft rarely seen in contemporary painting, his landscapes are both skillful renditions of familiar and unfamiliar scenes, and subtle meditations on time, space, and light.
Painting is primarily putting yourself – into motion.
If it is the sea that moves you – go to it,
Live with it – like Winslow Homer.
Today, surf it, and with it flow.
If it is the hills and mountains, hike them, climb their ridges
Wet feet, hip-deep fish their canyons and roam their valleys.
~ Ray Strong 1905 - 2006
For many years Comer shared a Santa Barbara studio with Ray Strong, the legendary landscape painter who was a contemporary of Maynard Dixon and co-founded the Oak Group in Santa Barbara. Comer credits Strong with helping him master the interrelation of color and value in his paintings, as well as the importance of drawing. Time spent painting in the field with Ray, Michael Drury and Hank Pitcher provided inspiration and a lifelong bond. In recent years Comer has painted primarily in Baja California Sur producing work that deeply reflects his enduring relationship to the land and sea.