His early sculptures were figurative (Meditating Head, Muse, Catacomb Self-Portrait, Priestess, Rosewood Ballerina), directly carved in wood or hammered in metal. In 1982, John took a vow of silence during the seven months it took to make the sculpture, Vow of Silence. Since that time his sculptures have taken on new, and more abstract forms needed to embrace the areas of his explorations. Among these are a series of Prayerwheels, Peace Tablets, Adirondack Rune, Momento Mori (Moment of Death), and Heart Sutra; all tools we may use to center ourselves.
John's paintings clearly emerge from the kinesthetic awareness evident in his sculptures. His use of color and line with their pulse, vibration, and rhythms invite the viewer to enter and travel them. A journey through the 100-painting Pilgrimage series unfolds like a new visual language. Subsequent series (Oracle, Mirage, Templates for Another Life) lead us to his Meditation Shawls, and, more recently, his Shrouds for Children, where we are invited to imagine our bodies wrapped in meditation and in compassion. He is currently working on Studies, which are astonishingly fresh and immediate explorations painted with acrylic inks on Mylar and glass.
John Lyon Paul began to make sculptures at the same time that he began to practice meditation in the 1970s. These two practices, the receptive and the active, have informed his entire creative life and generated a large and innovative output of artworks. Entirely self-taught, and the master of many materials, John spends about equal time painting and sculpting in the solitude of the studio he built at the end of a dead-end road in the hills near Ithaca, in central New York. Every fall John hosts two open-studio weekends during which a flood of visitors view his paintings and sculptures and interact with his installation pieces, including Many Thousands Gone and Nagasaki Prayerwheel. John's work has been exhibited in the Arnot Art Museum, and in many galleries and art venues in the region and is in private collections throughout the United States.