Judith Kerrigan Ribbens

I fell in love with color and wet paint at the age of five, when, in kindergarten, I was introduced to the wonders of paint and a brush. I can still remember clearly the colors dripping down the page propped on the small child-size easel. My teacher, Miss Grimm, watched and saw my delight. 'You love that don't you?' she asked and told me I could do that every day if I wanted. I couldn't get enough. Sadly, I was then sent to schools where there was no art taught. But over the years I had times when I found I could do it anyway...a woman I babysat for discovered that I had been using her pastels and making copies of her drawings and persuaded my parents to get me some art supplies one Christmas.

I could visualize any kind of clothing for my dolls and then create it. Later, I designed and made my own clothing, still later clothing for my children and costumes for their plays. One night, after painting a wall in a bedroom, I accidentally brushed a lighter color over a darker one and suddenly was able to visualize and paint a whole tropical scene on the rough wall with that lighter paint.


Finally, in 1969, I took a college course in painting, bringing my youngest child, age 4, along with me. There was one day when, struggling through a painting, the instructor, Don Bins, noted she was doing much better than I. But for the most part, he was astonished when I told him I had never had any training and I was very satisfied with what I had done. I still have one of the oils I did then and have since made a watercolor of it called 'Red Flowers in My Garden'. Finally, in 1977, asked by a friend to join a class she was teaching in advertising design because she needed one more person for the class to run, I found that I enjoyed doing anything with art media.


I had been taking human development and psychology courses for a bachelor's degree, but upon graduation and having found a job, I then began to take more art courses, one after another--ceramics, figure drawing, intaglio printing, mono-printing, serigraph, at University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. I took watercolor from community artists and experimented with acrylics and other media. I first exhibited, I think, in 1978 or 1979. I won two awards back then.


I later combined psychology with Art Therapy at Mt. Mary College, Milwaukee, and then went on to obtain a Master's degree in Expressive Arts Therapies from Lesley University, Cambridge MA. I am a licensed professional counselor and have used arts therapies for over twenty years as an outpatient counselor in group therapy settings and with individuals suffering with varying mental illnesses. I love to do 'playshops' for people in expressive arts.


My most recent venture into the art world is as a writer. In November, 2012, I published my first novel, Betrayal by Serpent, a murder mystery.

Since then, two additional novels, In Crocodile Waters and The Jaguar Hunts, have completed the Anna Kinnealy trilogy. They are now available on www.amazon.com/books in paperback and for the Kindle reader.


Over the years I've entered juried shows, had work in several galleries for short periods of time in the Green Bay area, and have had my small part in the northeastern Wisconsin art world. In December, 2012, I was a featured demonstrating artist at the Neville Public Museum in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and was there from June, 2012, through November, 2012.


I now work in watercolor, acrylic, and mixed media/collage. The collage aspect of my work came about in 2009, allowing me to experiment way outside my comfort zone, and resulting in a whole new direction. It is quite different from painting, although I often incorporate painting into the pieces. While I have used the arts as aid in healing myself from trauma, most of my art is about joy, a choice I make to contribute something positive to the world. Some of my art also explores spirituality. 


I welcome you to this site and hope you will find an image that moves you.


Judith Kerrigan Ribbens