He’s 99 and very alive. He’s featured in the February 2005 issue of SPACE COAST LIVING MAGAZINE .
Van Dyck’s art spans the county and country. One day there’s a story about him at Melbourne International Airport alongside his paintings: John’ s art is there again for the “Africa Africa Africa” traveling show. Next he’s at the Government Center in Viera Building C. It was there that Councilwoman Georgia Phillips snapped up his Patriotism piece entitled “Fire Engine,” an oil painting which now hangs in Rockledge City Hall of a 1924 NYC fire engine. Van Dyck’s mural “River Jordan” is on display at Bowe Gardens Baptist Church in Melbourne. “Brevard Avenue” can be seen at the Florida Historical Society’s Alma Clyde Fiedl Library in Cocoa Village.
Van Dyck enjoys painting scenery of historical interest or indicative of the area like boats, animals, and vegetation, oil being his favorite medium. When prodded he speaks of paintings he likes most – “A Ballard Park scene..a barn in a hayfield..my family has some great ones..” “Oh, golly, 30 years ago,” he says he began art. “My wife and I went to a Senior’s Center and they had art classes two days a week…he told us to bring a box of crayons and come in on Monday. Then there was the workshop at BMAS; sixteen of us took a class. It was the first time I ever worked on a full sheet. She has us wet the paper, hold the colors up, see if we could make a picture worth framing…has us take some ink and put it on..four pictures were chosen (to be framed) and mine happened to be one of them. It was a watercolor in the shape of a flounder or flatfish, with a different color on one side than the other. Every time they’d see the picture they’d ask about it. At an Art League show in Springdale, Arkansas it was spotted by a woman and donated to a wayward boys school. It’s still there.”
Van Dyck likes Jackson Walker’s civil war paintings and Frits van Eeden’s art.
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Good art is something people take a liking to as soon as they see it. One picture I saw really stood out and it was a high school kid who did it.”
Since his “art start,” he hasn’t been away from it for more than a month. Right now he’s taking a class with Millie Richardson; he just painted a charthouse boat scene.
John received recognition for all the time he has donated to the Strawbridge Art League & Henegar at the Annual Brevard Cultural Alliance banquet a few years ago. A shiny plaque hangs on his wall for “Outstanding Member Award” of an art organization. Blue Cross/Blue Shield Insurance Company of Florida gave John a “Creative Expressions” award. At an event in Orlando over 1,000 people met in a giant room for a celebratory dinner for “Ageless Heros” where pictures were taken and he shook hands with someone from the Governor’s office. A glass stand commemorating the occasion decorates van Dyck’s home. Most recently he won an award for his painting “Elephants” which has been touring in the “Africa Africa Africa” show.
When not painting, John takes ballroom dancing, practicing Friday nights and spending Saturday nights dancing “nearly every dance” at Dance Arts Centre. He plays golf and enjoys dating. John recently returned from a trip to the Everglades with his girlfriend Vera, 90, of Space Coast Pops and CAAN secretary.
Not one to rest on his laurels, more travels and achievements are in sight. Life is never dull with this ageless hero: his restless, fiery sprit prevails.