Beyond a pretty postcard
This story was featured in the November 2012 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Order the Southwest Art November 2012 print edition here, or purchase the Southwest Art November 2012 digital download here. Or simply subscribe to Southwest Art magazine and never miss a story!
When Colorado artist Jennifer Johnson was in second grade, she learned that she was dyslexic, which explained why she had such difficulty expressing herself in writing. A creative child, Johnson soon looked for another artistic outlet and turned to painting. “I discovered painting was what I did best, and that knowledge developed into a passion wherein I needed to paint,” she says.
Johnson eventually earned a degree in graphic design from the University of Kansas and then founded a successful design firm. But on a trip to Paris in 1999, she paid a life-changing visit to the Musée d’Orsay. “THE FLOOR SCRAPERS by Gustave Caillebotte blew me away,” she says. “I was amazed how an artist could create the variations from smooth to dull in the floor. I was intrigued with the symbolism. I thought to myself that I need to follow my passion.”
When she arrived home, she closed her lucrative design firm and began to paint daily. Today Johnson regularly participates in shows such as Salon International at Greenhouse Gallery of Fine Art in San Antonio and the Scottsdale Salon at Legacy Gallery in Scottsdale. Earlier this year her painting WINTER ROAD won two top honors at Salon International.
WINTER ROAD took root in Johnson’s imagination one day when she was out walking near her Denver-area home. One of the first things she noticed was a shaft of light at the road’s end, and it immediately struck her as a symbol of hope. She snapped a few pictures, sketched, and later fashioned the reference material into her award-winning piece. “I am trying to find the symbolism behind a painting rather than just painting a pretty scene,” Johnson says. “In this case the light represented a glimmer of warmth that touches the soul.”
Her current goal is to continue on the path of loosening her painting style. Instead of using six strokes to depict a particular section, for example, she prefers to use a large brush and make one thick stroke. “Without all the detail, I am trying to get to the essence of a thing. But it needs to be in the right place to create the illusion of realism,” Johnson says.—Bonnie Gangelhoff
Featured in the November 2012 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art magazine November 2012 digital download
Southwest Art magazine November 2012 print edition
Or subscribe to Southwest Art magazine and never miss a story!
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