Biography

john
John at home in Madison with his dog and pastels.

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 who were farmers in Indiana and summer camp at Lake Chautauqua in southwestern New York. These visits to beautiful natural and agricultural settings combined with regular visits to the historical places of the east coast made an early and profound impression on me and my imagination.

From the seventh grade to my senior year in high school I lived in south central Ohio, an area of rich farmland, small rural towns and wide open spaces. I then attended Maryville College, a small liberal arts school nestled in the scenic foothills of the Smokey Mountains. There I received a BA in Fine Arts, and, upon entering a world indifferent to that degree, I procured gainful employment in graphic design and illustration in Madison, Wisconsin. While working I took a number of selective courses in drawing and painting at the University of Wisconsin Art department. After 12 years of working as a design professional I became a full time faculty member of the Commercial Art program at Madison Area Technical College (MATC) where I remain to the present day.

While teaching, I continued to freelance as a graphic designer and illustrator until about ten years ago when, inspired and encouraged by my MATC colleague Chris Gargan, I began to paint landscapes “en plein air”. I started this pursuit using oil paint but transitioned to soft pastels influenced by the work of Edgar Degas among others.

I have lived in Madison for over 40 years, and have been married to fellow artist and compatriot, Cynthia Quinn for the last 30. Together we’ve raised two wonderful daughters, are currently doting on a terrific grandson and have lived in the company of many borzoi, a collie, a corgi and a number of eccentric felines.

I am daily grateful to live in a place as rich and 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, a passion that will sustain me for the rest of my life.