James Ralph Johnson


James Ralph Johnson


The Prospectors

Oil on Board
12 x 16 inches

Signed Lower Right

Inventory ID: DH200

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A Southerner James Ralph Johnson and his wife moved to Sante Fe, New Mexico, in 1964 to write and paint.  The two have written 43 books published by firms such as the Oxford University Press, Follett and their main publisher, David McKay Company.  Three have been filmed by Walt Disney Productions, and three have been Junior Literary Guild selections.

However, painting was the big thing to Johnson.  He has been busy with it since the second grade, and his files of sketches include many from World War II's Iwo Jima operations where his map crayons recorded air and artillery attacks, as well as the fighting of his Marine Infantry companions.  His scratchboard illustrations (over 500) appear in several dozen books, and he has transferred some of the technique to many of his acrylic paintings.

He was enthusiastic about modern acrylics because of their durability. "They seem to get out there and help you paint." He believes the old masters would have been ecstatic over this medium.

He studied art for four years under Alida Townes, a product of the Chicago Art Institute, as well as shorter courses with various artists. He has never met such illustrators as Robert Kuhn and Dean Cromwell, but has studied and admired their work for years.

James Ralph Johnson has an eight-page feature in the March 1982 issue of Southwest Art Magazine detailing his background.  Included are seven color plates of his paintings and various sketches.