John Hubbard was born in Connecticut in 1931 and read English at Harvard before going to Japan, where he served in counter-intelligence in the United States army and developed his interest in Chinese and Japanese art. Between 1956 and ’58 he studied at the Art Students League, New York and at Provincetown, Massachusetts with Hans Hofman. He then spent two years in Rome before moving to England. He has lived in Dorset since 1961.
Hubbard visited England for the first time in 1958 and, with the abstract expressionism current in New York fresh in his mind, went to St Ives and met the painter Peter Lanyon. From 1960 onwards he has concentrated on a kind of landscape painting which goes beyond the depiction of appearance, alluding to natural forms, to the rhythms of growing things and recreating the experience of being in a particular place. In Dorset his interest in oriental painting and thought and the early influence of artists such as De Kooning, Mark Rothko and Mark Tobey became linked in his mind with the contemplation of the natural world.
He has tended to work in series – in Greece, Morocco, France, in his own garden in Dorset, in the gardens at Abbotsbury and Tresco and the Alhambra, Spain. He makes sketches and charcoal drawings in the open and works in the studio on larger charcoal drawings and the paintings, with their extraordinary sense of the dramatic and subtle effects of light and colour. The image of the garden has been a consistent theme in his work.