Cover Artist: John Ribble

Artwork
Photograph provided by John Ribble

From my earliest memory the idea of drawing and painting seemed as inevitable as breathing. I grew up in the urban and historical settings of Philadelphia, but my family took annual trips to visit relatives—farmers in Indiana—and summer camp at Lake Chautauqua in southwestern New York state. These visits to beautiful, natural, and rural settings combined with exposure to historical places on the east coast made an early profound and lasting impression on my imagination.

From seventh grade through high school, I lived in south central Ohio, an area of rich farmland, small rural towns, and wide-open spaces. From there I attended Maryville College, a small liberal arts school nestled in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. There I earned a BA in fine arts.

Upon entering a world indifferent to that degree, I procured gainful employment as a graphic designer and illustrator in Madison. While working, I took a number of selective courses in drawing and painting at the University of Wisconsin Madison Art Department.

After 12 years of working as a design professional, I became a full-time instructor with the faculty of the Graphic Design and Illustration Program at Madison Area Technical College (MATC). I found teaching to be a wonderful opportunity to work with and learn from a tremendously diverse and talented art faculty, as well as the many gifted students full of creative energy.

While teaching, I continued to freelance as a designer and illustrator, but over a decade ago, inspired and encouraged by my MATC colleague Chris Gargan, I began to paint landscapes en plein air (French for in the open air). I began this discipline using oil paint, but transitioned to soft pastels, having been influenced by the work of Edgar Degas among others.

I retired in 2014 after 32 years of teaching at MATC. It was difficult to walk away, but I have since been able to apply a greater share of my time and energy to that which has become my primary aspiration—landscape painting—as well as other artistic pursuits. I exhibit work at the Abel Contemporary Gallery ( abelcontemporary.com ), formerly the Artisan Gallery, in Paoli.

I have lived in Madison for 48 years and have been married to fellow artist and compatriot Cynthia Quinn for 37 years. Together we have raised two wonderful daughters, an exceptional grandson, and many dogs and cats. I am daily grateful to live in a place as culturally rich and aesthetically bountiful as the rural and natural settings of south central and western Wisconsin. I am equally grateful to have found a passion for painting these great treasures on location. A passion that will sustain me for the rest of my life.

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