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Judith Ribbens Art Blog

My Artist's Statement

by judyribbens , May 6, 2008—12:00 AM

Topics: All Posts

I came to art late. Years after my schooling, when I finally began to paint, my mother produced my kindergarten report card. She had saved it for years. My teacher, Miss Grimm (she was not "grim", she was very sweet and kind), had written that I had a talent for art. But I was put into schools which had no art classes whatever and I was 39 years old before I could find my way into a painting class. This statement is a tribute to those who taught me, both in art classes and in my studies in expressive arts therapies.

By inclination and by training, I have become open to many and varied means of art expression. In the visual arts influences on me have come, over the years, from Japanese and Chinese art, from the Impressionists, from the Abstract Expressionists, and from the field of decorative art.

Individual artists I admire include artist and art teachers, Zoltan Szabo, Clary Nelson Cole, Mary Curran, and Caroline Beckett. Individual artists whose works inspire me include Georgia O__™Keeffe, Klimt, Monet, Louise Nevelson (in sculpture), and Kai Neilson and Arthur Rackham who illustrated the fairy tales of my childhood. I have received encouragement and admire the works of local artists Sienna, Karen Winzenz, Tina Bechtel, and numerous others through the years.

Individual artists whose teaching opened up my mind to the possibility of art and creativity as healing include, in music: Stan and Sid,the wonderful musicians from the Boston area, and Paulo Knill, our brilliant musician at Lesley: in the expressive arts, Sean McNiff, Evadne McNeill, Don Jones: in poetry, Elizabeth McKim: in philosophy, Thomas Moore (all at Lesley College in Cambridge): in dance & movement, all of the many dance teachers of ballet, Afro-Brazilian, Jazz, Modern, and Ballroom dance which I have had. I include here my first and only ballet teacher, Nikolai Makaroff, who believed that a middle-aged mom of 5 kids could become a ballerina.

There were many other artists who were students with me through the Arts Therapies programs we were in, most especially Rosalie Durante, fellow student at Mt. Mary College in the Art Therapy intensives. And the dancers at Lesley College, my fellow students from Israel who danced for every occasion. . Individual decorative and needlework artists such as my grandmother, Mary Coyle Kerrigan, my aunts, Odile Beno Lurquin and Germaine Beno Peters and my mother Dorothy Beno Kerrigan taught me sewing, knitting, crocheting, and other decorative arts.

Last, but most inspiring of all, has been the beautiful ceremonial dance of the Lakota Sioux, in which I have been honored and priviliged to participate. This dance embodies all principles I have ever been taught, and more, of what dance/art/music can do for the hearts and spirits of people--so that the People might live.

From these people I have learned, and then taken off in my own directions. Now I have works in visual arts, a growing library of needlework designs, a start on a book of poetry and a murder mystery, and a fable for children of all ages. Yet to come are musical compositions. I envision my next 10-15 years as an outpouring of creativity, a legacy for my children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

I am not afraid to change, to experiment, to go in new and unusual directions. Do not expect me to always do the same thing in the same style. Creativity lies in exploring alternatives, in new directions, in old directions revisited and changed, in taking apart and re-assembling, in breaking of patterns and reshaping new ones, in using media in ways other than the traditional, in using the traditional media to see in a different way. Does it always work? No. Is it great fun and healing, and does it result in great satisfaction? Yes.

Most of all I have learned from this world. I see beauty all around me in the works of Wakan Tanka and Unsi Maka, Grandfather and Grandmother of the Universe, from a tiny seed to a vast mountain view, and in faces of people everywhere, even to the stars.

Thank you to all artists who came before me. Thank you to my children whose works papered the walls of a room in one of our homes Thank you to my counselors, especially Grace, Madeline, and Jan, who took me through the dark time. Thank you to my clients, who honor me by allowing me to be with them in their dark time. Thank you to all my teachers, especially Basil Braveheart, Lakota spiritual leader. Thank you to all who have supported me and encouraged me. Thank you to all who have bought my work. Thank you to all who love the arts, especially to Jordi, artist, dancer and loving friend. Te amo, amigo. Thank you to the Creator.




  Caroline Beckett

10/28/2013 * 19:07:06

I'm the printmaker who made "Charleston Garden" for the 1980 Spoleto Festival in Charleston. Feel free to pass my email address on to Lonnie. I'm not on Facebook. And yes, I taught at UW-Green Bay years ago! I do remember you, and am glad to see you're still doing art.

Since teaching at UW-GB, I had a design company, Flying Fish Graphics, and my partner and I made educational graphics and exhibits for zoos and museums, mostly in the Midwest.

I've always said that my favorite students were women who were returning students. You were so motivated! Glad I didn't scare you off from doing what you wanted to do.



  Judith Ribbens ( homepage )

01/11/2013 * 17:53:44

Hi Lonnie,
I'm so sorry for not getting back to you. I've been writing, editing, proofing, and publishing a murder mystery, Betrayal by Serpent, under my pen name, Judith H Kerrigan, for the past three years. I finally did that November 15 and have it launched. In that extended interval, I did precious little artwork and neglected this site completely. I'm sorry.
I do believe the Caroline Beckett you have may very well be the one I have. She was my teacher at UW-GB for a serigraph class and was not at UW-GB very long. I do remember her saying she had been living in Madison and I believe she may have been in the Fine Arts program at UW-Madison both at student and teacher. I'm not positive about that. Just an aside--I also remember her saying she suffered serious problems from the toxic inks used years ago and she insisted we use non-toxic materials.
I am about to begin photographing all my own art again (a huge project)as well as the art in my collection from other artists. I'll flag the piece I have of hers and do that first and email it to you if I can have your email address. Mine is Then you can compare styles. Hers is very distinctive. Again, I apologize. I can only say that writing and publishing a book was wayyyy more work that I ever thought possible. Judi



04/17/2011 * 15:28:44

Judith, I have a print signed: Caroline Beckett, titled "Charleston Garden" edition 50, 1980 with the additional words Spoleto Charleston as part of the garden scene. Haven't had any luck so far with finding any info about Caroline Beckett. If you think this might be the same person mentioned in your blog, could you share what you know or a source that I might go to. Thanks in advance for your time and assistance. Lonnie in South Carolina

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