While he has painted much further afield, the West Sussex countryside, where he still lives, provided him with inspiration for much of his life.
John’s works are large in scale (some measuring as much as two meters wide) and have never been exhibited before. After painting the land beneath the open sky and the changing light and weather conditions, Hitchens realized that the sky, for so long the starting point for the mood of a painting, had in fact become a limitation. He was searching for the compositional freedom to express the formation of the land and a vigorous, gestural means of expression. These paintings see him flattening the perspective to eliminate the sky and horizon and entering deep into the woodland analyzing the shapes and patterns of trees, clearings, light and shade.