Artist Krista Lee Johnson captures memories and journeys through figurative and landscape paintings. See more of her portfolio on her website.
I paint because I have no choice. I have created art for as long as I remember. The smell of oil paint and turpentine excite me to the very core.
As I look around, I see paintings everywhere. It could be the way light hits a face, creating drama. It could be the mist of an early morning, veiling some things from view, while exposing others. My garden exploding with flowers offers endless opportunities to play with colors and textures.
I have spent years studying the human figure with both charcoal and paint. I believe this practice keeps my eye sharp and hones my drawing skills. I am part of a model cooperative and meet weekly to work from the figure. I have painted many portraits of children over the years, and been commissioned by churches and hospitals.
Now I am finally painting what calls to me. I am currently starting a new series based on photographs from a recent trip to Spain and France.
Many of my recent paintings are of horses, some commissioned, some not, and also cows. I love working on large canvases and these equally large animals seem to fit the bill.
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One of my other joys is traveling. I feel so alive when I am surrounded by new sights and different languages—I am like a kid in a candy shop. I sometimes feel overwhelmed by all of the ideas and visions for new paintings. I am grateful for these experiences, but equally grateful for the seeds they have planted in my creative journey.
Returning with photographs, I set out to capture my memories with oil paint and canvas. The photos remind me of what I have seen, but it is my emotions that guide my brush.
It thrills me to see those images come alive on my easel. They bring back a flood of sights, smells and sounds. I remember the call of seagulls as they circle fishing boats, but can also smell the salty air, and feel the spray of the ocean on my face. That is what I strive for in my paintings.
I hope to lead the viewers so that when they see my paintings, it is through the filter of their own lives, and it becomes an immersive experience, not just a visual one.
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