John F. Townsend was born in Charleston SC and was educated at Clemson and Florida State University. He studied architecture and art and eventually switched to Meteorology, subsequently graduating with a BS in Meteorology from Florida State in 1964. After stints in the US Air Force and the National Weather Service, he retired in 1997. In retirement, he developed hurricane decision-making software for emergency managers, and formed a company, Sea Island Software, to distribute the product. Gradually, after retirement, his original love for art manifested itself and he returned to painting. After a few years he opened the Ebb Tide Art Gallery in Mount Pleasant SC, and eventually moved the gallery to downtown Charleston, establishing the Atrium Art Gallery in the historic district there. "I like a wide variety of art, from abstract to realism, but I have been focusing recently on art of the early 1900s, especially the Arts and Crafts movement, early 1900s woodcuts, the Canadian Group Of Seven artists, and the Japanese woodcut artists of the 1700s and 1800s. Contemporary artists I like are Wolf Kahn, Richard Diebenkorn, Donald Sultan, Brian Rutenberg. " "I believe that good art is what moves the viewer, and aside from the pleasure the viewer gets from the experience, there is no requirement or need for meaning or relevance. Each viewer is the best judge of good art, because he or she knows what affects them, and, really, in the end, that is the only criteria that counts"