Dale Johnson served as professor of art at Bethel University from 1970 to 2012. He completed a Master of Fine Arts in painting at Michigan State University, studying with Angelo Ippolito. For the next 40-some years, he combined teaching, travel, and the development of his own considerable creative gifts.
He designed traveling art courses to the Dominican Republic, where he used Altos de Chavon School of Design as a base, teaching cultural history along with developing a series of paintings and drawings. In Italy, he bicycled in the countryside around Florence and local fishing villages, staying in Catholic convents while teaching painting. For 18 years, he taught painting during the summers at the Minnesota Institute for Talented Youth at Macalester College, St. Paul. Johnson’s own paintings are represented in numerous museum, corporate, and private collections.
Johnson has had a profound impact on the way his students think about color, beauty, and the world around them. His deep faith sustains and inspires him, says close friend and fellow artist Robert Michmerhuizen. “It is a joyous catalyst for his creative drive and a bedrock of his very being,” Michmerhuizen explains. “It pervades his teaching of Bethel University students. This force has helped him become the artist that he is.”
Michmerhuizen summarizes Johnson’s exceptional nature as an artist and a person: “In an era when fine art often consists only of wordy concepts or the capricious placement of accidental elements, Dale Johnson is a traditional painter. His technical skills have evolved to the point where he is no longer dependent upon formal procedural process; pigment flows like automatic writing from his brush. But technical skills produce only physical marks. Dale Johnson’s art is much more. It comes from a lifetime of experience, filtered through his eyes, his mind, his heart, and his memory, and, as with all true artists, it finally reveals as much of his very soul as we are likely to see.”