Monday, May 24, 2010

All Children Have Guardian Angels

[John Paul Thornton with his portraits of America's Missing Children.]

In observance of National Missing Children's Day, May 25th, Volunteers from across America have been asked to play "Guardian Angel".
Each volunteer has received by mail an oil painting of a missing child, created by Los Angeles artist John Paul Thornton. The volunteers have been challenged to dream up creative ways to display these paintings in their communities, bringing the artworks to schools, workplaces, to churches and temples, galleries and meeting centers. One volunteer couple is even embarking upon a month-long, thirty-state road-trip to spread awareness about a little lost girl... a girl they have never even met. The purpose is to find these children...and to not let their cases fade from the public awareness.

[Dina Martin served as guardian angel for Missing Child Abby Jo Blagg. She conducted a series of educational workshops and presentations shedding light on Abby Jo's case. She also created a drawing of her own, detailing how Abby Jo might appear today as a young adult.]

[Guardian angel Sandie Blair arranged a remarkable educational presentation and resulting exhibition to honor missing child Jozlynn Martinez.]

[Jake and Jeanett Van Donge serve as guardian angels for Aja Danielle Johnson. ]

How can paintings possibly impact the way viewers think, feel and act? It seems that in this era of greed, collapse and fear, selfless acts of hope and humanity offer a welcome change.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Three Artists-One World

I am honored to be exhibiting along with two brilliant artists: Toni Scott and Charlie Morey for the exhibition "Three Artists-One World" at the Burbank Creative Arts Center.

The exhibition has an opening reception on Friday, June 4th 2010 from 7 to 9pm and runs until June 24th. For gallery information and hours, please call 818 238-5397.

I will be featuring my large paintings of world ceremonies, including images inspired by my experiences in Tibetan refugee settlements and from my recent residencies in Taxco, Mexico.

[John Paul Thornton in front of his painting "Las Angelitas"]

Here is the press release from the show:

Three Artists - One World
Three compelling visionaries present artworks which address human dignity, the passionate longing for spirituality and the all-pervasive natural world which grounds us all. "Three Artists- One World" focuses on three successful mid-career artists: Toni Scott, John Paul Thornton and Charlie Morey, who offer a delightfully diverse range of media, all based upon what compels them most: the discovery of meaning in today's world. Ms. Scott, who recently completed her "Bloodlines" installation for a two-year run at the California African American Museum in Los Angeles, has worked in almost all art media, including paint, sculpture, photography, digital, and found objects. Mr. Thornton is known for his "Missing Children -- Portraits of Hope" series of paintings derived from missing children flyers received in the mail and for his large-scale figure paintings inspired by religious ceremonies from around the globe. Mr. Morey has devoted his artistic life to photography and exploration, where he found thoughtful images in such visually fulfilling locations as his home state of Maine, the big island of Hawaii, Yosemite National Park (where he served as an Artist-in-Residence, producing an exhibit called "Digital Yosemite"), and other locations in California, where all three artists currently reside.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Portrait of Aja Danille Johnson

[Portrait of Aja Danielle Johnson, by John Paul Thornton]

As I continue to paint portraits of America's missing children, I was asked to paint a portrait of Aja Danielle Johnson. She was born January 5th, 2003, reported as missing January 2010.

After I began her painting, she was found deceased.

I could not bear to put her painting aside. Finishing it was one of the most emotional experiences I have had. My heart goes out to her family, and to all of us.

Friday, April 09, 2010

The message of Compassion

The message in "Art and Courage: Stories to Inspire the Artist-Warrior Within"
became more powerful to me this year as I have begun speaking to both intimate and large audiences. People from all over the world are telling me that it is empowering them to advance through these amazing times of transition. I am grateful to all of you who have written to me and am looking forward to having everyone experience the book for themselves. It is available through Atlas Books and on

Friday, February 19, 2010

Good-bye, James Thornton

The burial of a great artist...
My father, James Thornton was laid to rest today. And I want to share something with you, about art. Sometimes art is not about techniques, workshops or exhibitions. Today, my family members dipped their hand in paint and covered my father's coffin with bright prints. It was a final form ...of fare-well, bringing everyone together in a way that broke the barrier between life and death. Good-bye, Dad.