John F. Thamm

John F. Thamm
John F. Thamm

John F. Thamm lives in Spokane, Washington. He holds portrait-workshops in many areas of the USA and in Europe. John F. Thamm’s passions are portrait painting, landscapes and social realism.


Born in Wendell Idaho, John Thamm’s educational endeavors have led him from coast to coast and Europe. After graduating from the University of Idaho, Thamm continued his studies at the Art Student’s League in New York City with a Ford Foundation Scholarship where he studied portraiture with Samuel Oppenheim. He operated a gallery in New York’s West Village and continued his work in social realism with guidance by Jack Levine.

John was an oil painting instructor with the Community Colleges of Spokane when he became a good friend of one of his students-Bob Ross. John introduced Bob to William Alexander and several years later Bob launched his Joy of Painting series. Bob always admired John’s portrait teaching technique and asked him produce a video under the Bob Ross series. John began teaching portrait workshops featuring his “Wipe-out Technique” and has shared his expertise with hundreds of other artists in the United States, Europe and Mexico.

John’s interest in portraiture and sculpture led him to pursue the craft of leather mask making near Padua, Italy with Donato Sartori. He produced a series of leather-sculpted masks in the tradition of the Comede D’Arte. Then in1993, Thamm expanded his interest in portraiture by becoming a courtroom sketch artist , covering the well-known Ruby Ridge and Waco trials. In this capacity he has worked for ABC, CNN, and PBS television news and the Spokesman-Review newspaper. At the end of the Ruby Ridge trial he completed a large portrait of Gerry Spence that hangs in his personal collection in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. John’s experiences at these trials led to his social realism show: Operation HUM/CON.

In the past ten years John has continued to paint landscapes and cityscapes concentrating on the area around Bisbee, Arizona and the Netherlands. John resides in Spokane, Washington.