John Salminen

John Salminen + Add to Collection

Contact Information

contact name: John Salminen
phone: (218) 721-3319

mailing address:
John Salminen
6021 Arnold Road
Duluth MN 55803

Related Organizations:
John holds signature membership in many national art societies and organizations including the American Watercolor Society, the National Watercolor Society, the Transparent Watercolor Society of America, Watercolor USA Honor Society and Watercolor West.
He is a Dolphin Fellow of the American Watercolor Society, holds Masters Status in the Transparent Watercolor Society of America and is an Honorary Member of the Jiangsu Watermedia Research Institute in China. He served as Director for the American Watercolor Society and has served on the Board of the Transparent Watercolor Society of America.


John Salminen, AWS-DF, NWS
John Salminen was born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree from the University of Minnesota.

John is a signature member of many watercolor societies, including the American Watercolor Society, the National Watercolor Society, The Watercolor USA Honor Society, Allied Artist, the Transparent Watercolor Society of America and Watercolor West. In addition, he has been honored with ‘master’ status in the Transparent Watercolor Society of America and inclusion in the American Watercolor Society’s Dolphin Fellowship. He is an honorary member of the Jiangsu Watercolor Research Institute in China.

John has won more than 195 awards in national and international exhibitions, including several major awards from the American Watercolor Society, the National Watercolor Society, the Transparent Watercolor Society of America, Watercolor USA and Watercolor West. He won the first place award in the National Watercolor Society Exhibition in both 2005 and 2011 and in the American Watercolor Society Exhibition in both 2006 and 2010.

He is a frequent juror and judge of natioanal and international exhibitions. He served as a juror of selection for the American Watercolor Society’s 2000 and 2003 Exhibitions and the National Watercolor Society’s 2003 Show. He served as awards judge for the 2005 and 2011 American Watercolor Exhibitions.

While perhaps best known for his realistic urban landscapes, John has also gained recognition for his mixed medium abstract paintings, one of which won first place in The Artist’s Magazine’s 2000 Art competition in the experimental category judged by Edward Betts.

John has been an invited artists in many international exhibitions. He was brought to China by the Chinese government to accept a major award in the Shanghai Biennial in 2010 and was brought back again to represent the U.S. in the Lushan Watermedia Festival.

John's paintings are included in many collections around the country and the world.

His work has been featured in national and international magazines, including American Artist’s Watercolor Magazine, The Artist’s Magazine, Watercolor Magic, Watercolor Artist, L'Art de L'Aquarelle, the Chinese Watercolor Quarterly and International Artist and in many books.


John has won over 195 major awards in national and international exhibitions. For a more complete listing please go to his website at Some selected awards:

Allied Artists of America National Exhibition, Silver Medal of Honor 2009

American Watercolor Society:

  • High Winds Medal, 1997
  • Silver Medal of Honor, 1998
  • High Winds Medal, 1999
  • Maxwell Desser Award, 2000
  • High Winds Medal, 2001
  • High Winds Medal, 2003
  • Gold Medal, 2006
  • High Winds Medal, 2007
  • High Winds Medal, 2008
  • Gold Medal of Honor, 2010
Art renewal Center International Salon:
  • Third Place, Landscape, 2006
  • Top 100 Finalists, Landscape, 2006
  • Honorable Mention and Finalist, 2007
  • Second Place, Landscape, 2009
  • Top 100 Finalists, landscape, 2009 and 2010
Artist Magazine Art Competition

  • First Place - category “Experimental”, 2000
  • Finalist - category “Landscape”, 2000
  • Finalist - “Experimental”, “Landscape”, 2001
  • Honorable Mention Landscape, 2008
  • Second Place in Landscape, 2010
Invitational Exhibition of Contemporary Watermedia Masters:
  • Certificate of Honor with Medal, 2008
  • Certificate of Honor with Medal, 2010

Minnesota State Fair Fine Arts Exhibition

  • various awards 1988 - 1997
  • first prize in watercolor, 1998
  • People’s Choice Award, 2000
  • Third Place, 2002, 2004, 2005
  • First Place Award, 2006
  • Merit Award, 2007
  • Third Place Award, 2009
  • Invited participant in the Hundred Years Celebration, 2011

National Watercolor Society Exhibition:

  • NWS Patron’s Award, 1997
  • Winsor and Newton Award and Plaque, 1999
  • Michael Wilcox Merchandise Award, 2001
  • Henry Fukuhara Award, 2004
  • NWS Purchase Award with Silver Star (First Place), 2005
  • Combined Merchandise Award, 2006
  • Richeson Purchase Award, 2007
  • Purchase and Cash Award, 2009
  • Silver Star First Place Award, 2011
Rocky Mountain Watermedia Exhibition:
  • Best of Show, 2003
  • Quintessence Award, 2005
  • Second Place Award, 2006
  • Vance Kirkland Memorial Award, 2007
  • Third Place Holly Coors Award for Realism, 2009

San Diego Watercolor Society:

  • Award of Excellence, 2002
  • Capt and Mrs. Edward B. Rogers Sponsor Award, 2003
  • Award of Excellence, 2004
  • Award of Excellence, 2005
  • Award of Excellence, 2006
  • Porte Family Award, 2007

Transparent Watercolor Society of America (formerly Midwest WS):

  • Edgar A. Whitney Award
  • Leech Lake Art League Award
  • L’Atelier Art Studio Award
  • Skyledge Award, 2000
  • Arlington Heights Art Guild Award, 2002
  • Past Presidents’ Award (3rd) 2004
  • People’s Choice Award, 2004
  • American Artist Magazine Award, 2005
  • Edgar A. Whitney Award 2006
  • John Singer Sargeant Award, 2007
  • Past Presidents Award, 2008
  • Skyledge First Place Award, 2010

Watercolor Art Soc. of Houston International Exhibitions:

  • Third Place, 2002
  • First Place Award, 2006
  • Merit Award, 2007
  • First Place Award, 2008
  • Second Place Award, 2009
  • Honorable Mention, 2010

Watercolor USA:

  • Jerry Berger Springfield Museum Purchase Award, 1992
  • Dr. Ruth Grant and Dr. Howard Schwartz Purchase Award, 1994
  • Springfield Museum Cash Award, 1996
  • Patron Purchase Award, 1997
  • Case Award, 1998
  • Marion Louise Shuck Memorial Award, 2003
  • Springfield Museum Cash Award, 2005

Watercolor West Exhibition

  • Board of Directors Award, 1999
  • Lana and Kenneth Vernon Award, 2001
  • Beryl Larkin Mem. Award, 2003,
  • Best of Show John Koser Memorial Award, 2004
  • First Place Award, 2005
  • Second Place Award, 2006
  • Combined Merchandise Award, 2007
  • Third Place Award, 2010

Exhibitions/Performance History

John has been juried into hundreds of competitive national and international exhibitions including the American Watercolor Society Exhibitions, the National Watercolor Exhibitions, Watercolor USA, Allied Artists and the Transparent Watercolor Society of America. For a complete listing, please go to his website at

Invitational International Exhibitions he has participated in as an invited artist:

  • Master Watercolor Exhibition - The Reason for Watercolor, China Academy of Art, Hangzhou China, 2010
  • Taiwan International Watercolor Exhibition, Chung Shan National Art Gallery, Taiwan, 2011
  • Peace Through Art, National Convention Center, Beijing China
  • First International Exhibition of Contemporary International Watermedia Masters, Nanjing China 2007
  • Second International Exhibition of Contemporary International Watermedia Masters, Nanjing, China 2010
  • Third Lushan International Art Festival, Shanghai and Lushan China 2010
  • Asian-Pacific International Design Forum, Beijing china 2010
  • Inaugural Shanghai Zhuojiajiao International Watercolour Biennial Exhibition, 2010
  • Hundred Years of Brilliance - third Contemporary International Invitational Exhibition, China Wetlands Museum, Hangzhou China, 2011
John has had many one person shows and has participated in many small group exhibitions. For a complete listing, please go to his website at


John's paintings are included in many private, corporate and government collections, including:

  • Jack Richeson Collection of Fine Art
  • Steve and Carol Grams Collection of Fine Art
  • Central Michigan University Fine Art Collection
  • Leroy Spring Corporation Fine Arts Collection
  • Thomas Craig Collection
  • Quanhua Watercolor Art Gallery and Museum in Zhujiajiao Cina
  • Asian Museum of Watercolor Art
  • Cafesjian Armenian Art Center and Museum Permanent Collection
  • Creative Catalyst Productions Collection
  • National Watercolor Society Permanent Collection
  • North Shore Bank of Commerce Fine Arts Collection
  • First Bank Fine Arts Collection
  • Tweed Museum of Art
  • Springfield Museum of Art


Gallery Representation:

  • San Marino Gallery, Pasadena CA
  • American Legacy, Kansas City, MO


Many national and international magazines have featured John's work, including:

  • American Artist
  • American Artist Watercolor
  • The Artist's Magazine
  • Watercolor Magic
  • Watercolor Painter
  • International Artist
  • L'Art de L'Aquarelle
  • Chinese Watercolor Quarterly
For information regarding articles and issues, please go to John's website and click on 'Publications'.
John's work is also represented in many books, including:
  • Artistic Touch 3
  • Best of Watercolor 2
  • Expressing the Visual Language of the Landscape
  • L'Art de L'Aquarelle Le Libre
  • Searching for the Artist Within
  • Splash 6, 10 and 12
  • The Reason for Watercolor, Chinese Academy of Art
He has produced two instructional DVD's through Creative Catalyst:
  • Abstraction Through Design
  • Urban Realism Through Design
For information regarding the dvd's please go to

Biographical Information

Country of Citizenship:
United States

Birth Date:
January 18, 1945


Active Place:

Minnesota County:
Saint Louis

Artist Information



Artist's Website Collections Featuring John Salminen

MASHUP a+E Issue 8.2: 2006 MN State Fair Fine Arts Winners