John Salminen

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John T. Salminen (born January 18, 1945) is an award-winning American watercolor painter who is well known for his realistic urban landscapes. His work was described as "compelling street scenes packed with detail" by Watercolor Magic magazine's senior editor, Loraine Crouch.[1][2]


Salminen was born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota. He earned his Bachelor's Degree and Master's Degree from the University of Minnesota. He lives in a self-built log cabin surrounded by 40 acres (160,000 m2) of pine forest in Duluth, Minnesota.[2][3]

For nearly 34 years, Salminen was a high school art teacher. Although he started college as a music major, Salminen became enchanted by the art studio during his high school years. He painted while teaching high school students.[2]

The prolific artist[edit]

Salminen is a productive painter who paints six to ten hours a day in a basement studio when he's not out of town jurying exhibitions or teaching workshops. He captures his subjects with his camera. He and his wife, Kathy - who is also a teacher and a photographer - dedicate their time to gathering material by shooting photos on the streets of cities like New York and Chicago.[2]

John's work is included in many private and public collections, including:

  • National Watercolor Society Art Collection
  • Jack Richeson Collection of Fine Art
  • Springfield Art Museum
  • First Bank Fine Arts Collection
  • Steve and Carol Grams Collection of Fine Art
  • Central Michigan University Collection of Fine Art
  • Leroy Spring Corporation Fine Art Collection
  • Thomas Craig Collection
  • Quanhua Watercolor Art Gallery and Museum, Zhujiajiao China
  • Asian Museum of Watercolor Art
  • Cafesjian Armenian Art Center and Museum Permanent Collection


John Salminen is a member of watercolor-painting societies such as the American Watercolor Society, the National Watercolor Society, the Watercolor USA Honor Society, the Transparent Watercolor Society of America and Watercolor West. He has a master status in the Transparent Watercolor Society of America. Salminen is an honorary member of the Jiangsu Watercolor Research Institute in China and he is a fellow in the American Watercolor Society's Dolphin Fellowship.

Recognitions and awards[edit]

Salminen had won more than 195 awards in national and international watercolor art exhibitions and competitions.[citation needed] These include the American Watercolor Society Gold Medal in both 2006 and in 2010,[citation needed] the First Place Silver Star Award in the National Watercolor Society Exhibition in both 2005 and 2011,[citation needed] the 2009 Silver Medal With Honor from Allied Artist[citation needed] and the Biennial Award in the Shanghai Zhujiajiao International Biennial Exhibition.[citation needed] He was invited to China in 2010 to receive this Biennial Award in person and was invited back to China a second time to represent the United States in the Lushan International Watercolor Festival. Salminen has also gained recognition for his mixed-medium abstract paintings. One of his experimental paintings won first place in The Artist's Magazine's 2000 art competition.[citation needed]

DVDs Produced[edit]

John Salminen has released two instructional DVD's DVD workshop: "A Designed Approach to Abstraction by John Salminen" and Urban Realism produced by Creative Catalyst Productions

Judging, workshops and exhibitions[edit]

Salminen's work has been exhibited in hundreds of national and international juried and group exhibitions as well as in many one-person and small group exhibitions. He has been an invited artist in international exhibitions in Hangzhou, Taiwan, Beijing, Nanjing, Shanghai, Lushan and Zhujiajiao, China.

John Salminen serves as juror and judge for many exhibitions around the country each year, including as a juror of selection for the American Watercolor Society's 2000 and 2003 exhibitions and as judge for AWS in 2005 and 2011. He juried the National Watercolor Society show in 2003.

Salminen conducts workshops throughout the United States.

Exposure and publications[edit]

Salminen's paintings have been featured in national and international magazines such as the American Artist's Watercolor Magazine, The Artist's Magazine, Watercolor Magic, International Artist, L'Art de L'Aquarelle and Chinese Watercolor Quarterly. His work has also been featured in many books, including L'Art de L'Aquarelle Le Libre, Splash and the North Light publication Art Journey America: Landscapes.

Salminen is included in Who's Who In American Art and Who's Who in America. "John Salminen is one of America's most highly recognized watercolorists." - quote from the Artist's Magazine.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ John Salminen, Artist Information, a project of The McKnight Foundation and Walker Art Center,, 2007 Archived 2007-09-28 at the Wayback Machine., retrieved on: July 20, 2007
  2. ^ a b c d Crouch, Loraine. Staying in the Flow (note: Loraine Crouch is the senior editor for Watercolor Magic), Watercolor Magic Yearbook 2004, Volume Twelve, Number Six, F+W Publications, Inc. and, 2004, pp. 42 to 47
  3. ^ Picture This, Guest Essay by John Salminen, Watercolor Magic Yearbook 2004, Volume Twelve, Number Six, F+W Publications, Inc. and, 2004, p. 72.