Ridgewell's painting style shifts a lot over his career and it is convenient to break this up into three main strands. The shifts in style were fluid and inconsistent, but as a framework to view his work it may help the newcomer to his art.
Student work aside, Ridgwell's early work is experimental in nature, using heavy
colours and strong blocks of image. Much of this is inspired by his proximity to
the dark mud cliffs of the Yorkshire coast, and the layering of houses as they
tumble down ravines such as Robin Hood's bay, Whitby or Staithes. The crowded
buildings of industrial Yorkshire feature in many paintings from this period.
A different often heavily surrealist strand was begun at this time with the red
farmhouse pictures, based on a farmhouse on the Yorkshire Wolds.
1970's and 1980's
The rich green landscapes of Suffolk and Yorkshire feature in pictures from
the 1970's, his series of paintings featuring gates, doors and stairways in landscape
being amongst his most remarkable paintings from the period. This was
commercially amongst his most successful period, with multiple exhibitions
and a growing audience of loyal patrons who would buy work directly from John's
Ridgewell's style starts to shift again into a fine, delicate style, often using
tones of blue on white to extraordinary effect.
Attention to detail, something Ridgewell always said he learnt at Colchester,
is a constant in his paintings, each blade of grass carefully placed and
executed. His paintings reward repeated viewing.
Images are also available on the government art website, http://www.gac.culture.gov.uk/work.aspx?obj=19215 The images held here were bought from an exhibition in 1961 held to mark John's graduation from Art College. Other organisations that have purchased his art include Rowntree Confectionery, now Nestle, for the offices in York, amongst others.
surrealist British artist, 1937 - 2004