A Portsmouth dockyard worker has been drawing scenes from the yard for 45 years - and now his work is to be exhibited

FOR more than 45 years, John Green was known as ‘the dockie who draws’ - and now a Portsmouth gallery is to honour his work with an exhibition.

Wednesday, 21st August 2019, 9:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 21st August 2019, 9:16 am
John Green in his studio in Art Space, in Brougham Road. Picture: Claire Sambrook.

The 81-year old joined the Portsmouth dockyards aged just 15, but quickly found himself dividing his time between his role as a rigger and completing requests for caricature portraits from tradesmen.

More than 60 of illustrations from his life at the dockyards will go on display at the Jack House Gallery, in 121 High Street, Portsmouth, this Saturday.

John, who taught himself to draw, said the exhibition was an opportunity to fulfil his dream of becoming an artist, having ‘never had the privelege’ to work full time as an artist.

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One of John Green's paintings

He said: ‘People often come to the studio and are surprised that I did the work.

‘It’s funny when people say those things.

‘But I just think it’s just about knuckling down and getting on with the work.

‘After I finished working at the docks, I was able to work with some brilliant artists at the Southampton Institute - that was fantastic.’

John, who lives with his wife in North End, said he ‘thoroughly enjoyed’ his career.

He said: ‘I enjoyed working at the dockyard.

‘It was great working with the former servicemen - some of the stories about their time at sea during the war were unbelievable.

‘The Captain of the Port would ask me to do drawings that he could give away as presents, and one time he set me up in an office so I could make a detailed drawing of HMS Victory.’

The owner of the Jack House Gallery, Rebecca Crow, said she recognised that John had a ‘special’ talent as soon as she saw his work.

She said: ‘He has such natural ability.

‘I did my first show with him in 2016 and it was extraordinarily successful.

‘Hundred of people – including many dock workers, came to the exhibition.

‘Most of his art work is now in private hands.’

All of John’s exhibited work will be available to purchase.

The Art of the Dockyard exhibition will open this Saturday at 10.30am, running until Saturday September 21.