About John M. Bell
John M. Bell is an artist and teacher who lives in Augusta County, Virginia. He has shown his works throughout Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and California. He has had exhibitions at the Aisling Gallery (Washington, D.C.), the Arts Council of the Valley (Harrisonburg, VA), Bridgewater College (VA), and Eastern Mennonite University (VA). John received an international artist-in-residency at the Cill Rialaig Project in County Kerry, Ireland (2005).
Now retired after 29 years as an art professor at Blue Ridge Community College, John taught classes in drawing, painting, design, and art appreciation. His paintings (in oil and acrylic) depict both the natural and the man-made world. Recent works have been inspired by his home environment in rural Shenandoah Valley, roadway signs, and travels in western Ireland and Scotland.
Of his artwork, John relates: “I seek to combine the visual sense of place and time with the subjective and aesthetic experience. I enjoy the challenge of taking commonplace subjects – things that we all pass by everyday – and making them uncommon through the use of the paint, color, composition, and the creative process. I also like working with the concept of metaphor in my work. Art is a means for me to enhance my day-to-day experiences – to become more aware of emotions, colors, textures, memories – and then to translate those experiences into paintings. Hopefully, in seeing the work, viewers can have a similar experience and then take that awareness with them as part of their own lives.”
John earned his Master of Fine Arts (Painting and Drawing) from James Madison University and Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art from Indiana University of Pennsylvania (which included studies in Lucca, Italy).