About The Artist

“Capturing the present with an eye towards eternity”

john seibels walker

Self-portrait
Florence, Italy

American painter, John Seibels Walker, was born in South Carolina in 1960. He was exposed to museum quality paintings and sculptures beginning at a very early age, as his parents were avid art collectors as well as owners of a fine art gallery specializing in American and European art of the 19th and 20th centuries. With his demonstrating a passion for drawing and a keen sense of observation, John began receiving professional art instruction from a local portrait artist by the age of eight. After pursuing his interest in the arts throughout his childhood, he went on to earn a B.A. in Studio Art from the University of the South in 1983. Several years as a 19th/early 20th C art dealer followed before he went on to train at the Classical Realist atelier of Richard F. Lack, where he completed four years of study in 1991.

This special training at Atelier Lack provided him with a unique opportunity to work from life every day and to master one of the world’s longest and most important artistic traditions ~ an academic approach to observing and rendering nature accurately while learning the craft of painting using the techniques of the Old Masters. This knowledge was passed down through a direct lineage of master/pupil relationships which traces itself from the very beginnings of the French Academy in the 18th C on to America through several of the Boston School painters over a century ago ~ and finally on to a small group of academically trained painters today.

David to Ingres and Gros to Delaroche to Gerome to Paxton (the Boston School) to Gammel and on to Richard Lack.

Hermes Cast Charcoal Drawing

Charcoal cast drawing
as a first year student
Atelier Lack, Minneapolis MN

Richard Lack noted: “John’s special gift for portraiture was revealed even in his initial studies in oil from the model. In his last year, his portraits took on a professional quality, and he painted some of the best heads that I have seen among my students. His striking gift for portraiture will, I predict, make him one of the finest American portrait painters in the forthcoming century… John will produce work of enduring merit and will be one of the best trained painters of his generation.”

After working with Lack in Minneapolis, John moved to Florence, Italy to further study European art and architecture while also teaching academic drawing and painting from life at Charles H. Cecil Studios. Several important commissions in Britain followed before his return to America and the Carolinas. Over the subsequent decade, his work was quickly to be found in numerous American, British, and European collections and he is now widely regarded as one of America’s premier painters of portraiture in the Grand Manner.

Among his many artistic influences are the style, swagger and narrative found in the work of Grand Manner portraitists of centuries past. This includes the work of Lucca’s own Pompeo Batoni, Germany’s Franz Xaver Winterhalter, Scotland’s Sir Henry Raeburn – as well as numerous late 19th/early 20th century masters such as William Adolphe Bouguereau, Philip de Laszlo, Anders Zorn and John Singer Sargent.

John always strives to create meticulously observed and exquisitely crafted museum quality work with an emphasis on what is noble and enduring in conception and design while also capturing the essential character and unique spirit of each sitter. He is especially known for the luminous flesh tones he is equally able to achieve ~ whether working completely from life or when using his own photography and notes for a portrait.

Portrait of Carolyn

Portrait of Carolyn, in progress

Lucca, Italy on bike

Heading out to paint en plein air
Lucca, Italy

In November of 2000, he purchased a home/studio in Lucca, Italy where his ongoing love and appreciation of Italian art, culture, and landscape have him continuing to work, study, and teach part of every year. He can otherwise be found working out of his studios in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Whenever presented with the opportunity, he also enjoys painting classical still lifes in the studio or plein air landscapes under the Tuscan sun.

For inquiries, please click here to visit the contact page.

Selection of Notable Portrait Commissions:

  • The Hon. Nikki R. Haley, Governor of South Carolina
  • The Hon. Beverly Eaves Perdue, Governor of North Carolina
  • The Hon. Glenn F. McConnell, Lt. Governor of South Carolina
  • South Carolina Senator Hugh K. Leatherman, Sr., President Pro Tempore
  • The Hon. Jean H. Toal, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of South Carolina
  • The Hon. Costa M. Pleicones, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of South Carolina
  • The Hon. Henry E. Frye, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina
  • The Hon. Karen Williams, Chief Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • The Hon. Robert J. Conrad, Jr., Chief Judge, United States District Court
  • The Hon. Susan Phillips Read, NY Court of Appeals
  • Janet Cowell, Treasurer, State of North Carolina
  • Lt. Col. Sir John Miller, GCVO, DSO, MC, Crown Equerry
  • Captain Richard Westmacott, Grenadier Guards, Sandhurst Military College
  • Hugh L. McColl, Jr., Chairman and CEO, Bank of America
  • Paul Bowers, Chairman, President and CEO, Georgia Power
  • Ron Calcaterra, CEO, Central Electric Power Cooperative, Inc., SC
  • Steven D. Bell, Founder, Chairman and CEO, Bell Partners, Inc.
  • Roddey Dowd, Jr., CEO, Carolina Pipe and Foundry Co.
  • Frank Dowd, IV, Chairman of the Board, Carolina Pipe and Foundry Co
  • Stephen Timbers, President and CEO, Kemper Financial Companies
  • Edward I. Weisiger, Sr., Chairman of the Board, Carolina Tractor
  • Allan B. Head, Executive Director, NC Bar Association
  • W. Stuart Smith, Executive Director, MUSC Medical Center
  • Mary Rinehart, President and Founder, Rinehart Wealth Management
  • Chancellor Philip Dubois and Lisa Dubois, UNC Charlotte
  • Kent J. Chabotar, President of Guilford College
  • Liza Lee, Head of School, Columbus School for Girls
  • John T. McCutcheon, Chief of the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board and Page
  • Reverend Donald McPhail, Grace Episcopal Church, Charleston, SC
  • Dr. Sid Batts, Pastor, First Presbyterian Church, Greensboro, NC
  • Roy Morrow Bell, Senior Counsel, Troutman Sanders Law Firm
  • James S. Konduros, Founding Member of the McNair Law Firm, SC Director and Chairman of the Board of the Psaras Foundation and Fund
  • E. McLeod Singletary, Founding Member of the McNair Law Firm, SC
  • O. Wayne Corley, Founding Member of the McNair Law Firm, SC
  • Jack M. Weatherford, Ph.D, Noted anthropologist and author

Current and Upcoming Commissions:

  • The Hon. H. Brent McKnight, Judge, United States District Court
  • William A. Muller, MD PhD, Northwestern University
  • President Harris and Patricia Pastides, University of South Carolina
  • Dean Daniel B. Rodriguez, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law

Selected Awards

2016: Portrait of “The Hon. Costa Pleicones”
Chief Justice, Supreme Court of South Carolina
2nd Place, Commissioned Portrait Category
The Portrait Society of America
Members Only Competition

2015: Portrait of “Emily”
2nd Merit, Commissioned Portrait Category
The Portrait Society of America
Members Only Competition

2014: Portrait of “Hampton”
Certificate of Excellence
The Portrait Society of America
Annual International Portrait Competition

2013: Portrait of “Hale”
7th Place, Commissioned Portrait Category
The Portrait Society of America
Members Only Competition

2012: Best Portfolio Award
The Portrait Society of America

2011: Portrait of “Mary Rinehart”
Exceptional Merit Award
Portrait Society of America
Annual International Portrait Competition

2010: Portrait of “Whitney X”
5th Place, Commissioned Portrait Category
The Portrait Society of America
Members Only Competition

2009: Portrait of “Lyles”
4th Place, Pastel Category
Portrait Society of America
Members Only Competition

2008: Portrait of “The Phillips Children”
1st Place, Group Portrait Category
Portrait Society of America
Members Only Competition

Portrait of “Madeline”
4th Place, Child Portrait Category
Portrait Society of America
Members Only Competition

2007: Portrait of “Sam at Cottonwood Creek Farm”
3rd Place, Outdoor Portrait Category
Portrait Society of America
Members Only Competition

2000: Portrait of “Jack T. McCutcheon”
Certificate of Merit
American Society of Portrait Artists
Annual International Portrait Competition