Review of the 1994 Tolquhon Gallery Exhibition
by Tim Pauling in The Aberdeen Press and Journal

David Johnston is captivated by the Mearns landscape around his home in Laurencekirk. His watercolours are, without doubt, some of the best landscapes I have seen for some time. They have a wonderful sense of depth, capturing all the intricacies of the area's beauty, whether it is the broad panorama of the fields and sky, or the lushness of the roadside plant life. Indeed, it is his ability to marry the broadness of the landscape with the detail of the foreground that makes his work so attractive. 

Review of the 1992 Tolquhon Gallery Exhibition by Charles Moncrieff in The Ellon Times

David Johnston's work has an almost spartan quality. Concentrating mainly on the rural landscapes around his home in the Mearns, he has the ability to capture precisely the vast open skies and bleak beauty of the North-East. From the close and detailed work of Wild Grasses to the rolling expanses of Stubble Fields in August, he not only accurately records the natural world but manages to express its essence with a true sense of the character of the place.
Review of 'Nine North-East Artists', Castlegait Gallery, Montrose in The Arbroath Herald

D. E. Johnston presents a series of watercolours which explore aspects of the Mearns landscape in late summer and early autumn. Sometimes, as in Cut Field, August, Mr Johnston chooses to delineate the larger elements within the landscape to evoke a 'sense of place'; at other times, the foreground provides the focus of attention, as in Field Edge, August. In Late October Field Edge, grey clouds threaten rain from the hills, the stubble field lies empty and a bleak sky is reflected in an area of water which has formed at the field entrance. The painting is both a representation and a metaphor, a portrait of a place and a 'seasonal reminder'.

Review of 'Mearns Connections: Joan Eardley - A Personal Tribute' (August, 2010)

But, to the main event of the night ... Local artist. David Johnston (www.mearnsartist.com) had been charged with the task of pulling together the connections which bound Joan Eardley to the Mearns, and he did so eloquently and with a real sense of poetry. It was the 'strangeness' he said, which drew Eardley to Catterline. And anyone who has visited this cliff-top fishing village, with its vast skies and whirling winds will instantly pick up on this too. David drew parallels between Grassic Gibbon and Eardley which made me think of both differently....

As David Johnston picked up on in a particularly poetic way ....Joan Eardley felt at one with the speak of the Mearns and the people of the Mearns. They were rough, farming and fishing folk, but they were real and honest. They tilled the land and they worked the sea. Here, she could paint and feel the power of centuries' worth of human and weather-based drama which all revolved around the turning of the seasons...


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D E Johnston RSW Reviews 2