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John Hadley

When I was a youngster going to school in Switzerland I took art classes. In the spring, I crewed on a four man rowing team. When I came back to Los Angeles, I earned a degree in Architecture and have practiced ever since. When I turned 70, my wife gave me an 18 foot scull and, at 75, my children gave me painting lessons. During my lifetime, I have enjoyed the outdoors at the beach or the mountains. The whims of nature inspire me, and their elements gave direction to my architectural designs. 

Five years ago, I became a full time resident of Camano and began rowing and painting again. Every day I awaken to the clear air on Camano Island, the vibrancy of colors, and the sounds of nature. When I row, I follow the clouds, talk to the seals, think about being alive, and listen. I take my phone with me to record what I am sensing. It is truly exciting. With architecture, I had rulers, T-squares, pencils, erasers, and client suggestions that had definite boundaries. With painting, I only have the constraints of my canvas and my own mind. 

Brush strokes, colors and compositions give me freedom of expression and enable me to put feelings into my art. I often think for several days about what I wish to express on canvas. I practiced architecture in the same manner, visualizing in my mind what I wanted to achieve before putting anything on paper. I’m able to get my brain, my hands, and my heart all working at the same time. I get so immersed that I forget about time. Often I paint myself into a place where I get stuck, Other times I go too far and don’t stop when I should. Reset becomes a short term problem that takes time to resolve. I operate with the theory that if I don’t make some mistakes, I am not learning anything. 

I’m amazed how my childhood learning makes aging so wonderfully rewarding.


John Hadley


Born February 4, 1939, Los Angeles, California

went to school in Switzerland 1948-1950 and 1952-1954

finished High School in Los Angeles, 1956

Took an extra year at Lawrenceville School in New Jersey, 1957

Dartmouth College: 1957-1961, BA

Sorbonne University in Paris 1962

University of Southern California, School of Architecture 1962-1966,BArch

United States Marine Corps Reserve: 1962-1966

Langdon Wilson, architects, Los Angeles: 1966-1975

    designing office buildings and hospitals

1976: joined the American Institute of Architects (A.I.A.)

    member emeritus now

Hadley Architects: 1975-present

Hadley/McHugh 1977-1992

    joint venture with McHugh Properties, San Francisco, CA 

    formed limited partnerships to acquire and restore properties

Hadley Construction 1992-2006

    formed to build architectural projects, mainly residential, some retail and office


Became a WA resident in 2010, now reside here full time


Service work

    Hathaway Children’s Village, Pacoima, CA, board member

    Alcohol Information Council, Los Angeles, board member

    Everett Recovery Cafe, Everett, WA, advisory council

    Dartmouth College, fund raising

    CAA, Board Member 2020-2023


started skiing in 1948 and still doing it, along with hiking, swimming, rowing, tennis

traveled extensively throughout Europe

speak french

started painting in Switzerland, stopped in college, picked it up again in 2016


married (1965), divorced, remarried (2003)

    3 children: born 1966, 1967, 1969 

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