Ralph Nielsen Member Since December 2011 Artist Statement An artist is born...... My name is Ralph Nielsen and I have been painting for almost 50 years. I feel honored to have my art work displayed in the civic center in Seward. I was born in Knox County near Bloomfield, NE, which is located in Northeast Nebraska. After being discharged from the Army and still a bachelor, I started farming in 1955. I lived on a 320 acre ranch near the Niobrara-Santee Indian Reservation and the edge of the hills they call the "Devils Nest". As to how I began painting, I became "snow bound" the winter of 1955 on the ranch for 2 1/2 weeks! Without owning any heavy snow removal equipment or a horse, needless to say, the only way out was to scoop the 3/4 mile lane by hand!! I finally did get the car out and moved up to the main HWY #12, and of course left it at the end of the lane the rest of the winter... There was not much to do but chores and cut a daily supply of wood to keep the house warm. To help pass the time, I decided I needed a "hobby", so on my next trip to town, I visited with the gentleman who ran the Ben Franklin store in Bloomfield. He also was an artist and encouraged me to start painting... I went home with oil paints and a few brushes!! The rest of that winter, in my spare time, I worked on a 16x20 "Ocean Landscape". Why I chose an ocean scene, I'll never know. I guess it was because I loved the water and was stuck in the middle of Nebraska! I still have that painting!!! I married and moved to a more civilized area east of Bloomfield. A few years later my interest in art got the better of me and I decided to try a 10-week art course 30 miles away at Yankton College in Yankton, So. Dakota. I still recall the "smell" of the turpentine and oils in that art studio-- "I was hooked!!" The following year I decided to take the continued education program again. The instructor was very good and made it look so easy!!! A few years passed and another artist and myself decided to drive 50 miles, once a week to Norfolk Jr. College to take a portrait and landscape painting class. With the portrait classes we had a live model and out of the 10 people in our class, I was excited and pleased that she chose to buy mine for $10. After farming for a period of 14 years, drying out completely five times and being quite discouraged, my wife Cleo and I decided to pull stakes and try something else. Concordia University (Concordia Teachers College at that time) had placed an ad for a grounds supervisor, so I applied and was hired. That is how we ended up in Seward County and I must say, I have never regretted the move. I have continued with my "Hobby", learning other techniques throughout the years and am enjoying it more every time I grab a brush, for it is truly very relaxing...
Catalog Details Product No 4310393 Subjects Style Medium TagsNielsen, Ralph