My paintings are a construction project. I build and shape their layers and textures to make my work come alive. I enjoy how the media mix and merge together - each painting formed from dozens of layers of paint, papers, drawings, and stencils. All of these elements represent the complexity of the parts that form the painting’s persona.
I use high flow and liquid acrylic paints due to their strong pigments. These allow for thinner, juicier colors. The paint is applied in sweeping, bold strokes, which are complimented by collage papers to enhance the images. I then draw into the paint and paper creating an intersection between the two while looking for additional interesting shapes. Various gels with stencils are used to create texture blending paper and stencil so it is a wonder as to where the paper ends, and the stencils begin. I repeat the paint, paper, and drawing process multiple times until the final image appears. As I work, I leave layers that the viewer can read through, showing a history of the process.
All of my paintings are process driven. I let the painting tell me where it wants to go with each piece having it’s own voice. I am open to mixes of color, pattern, and texture. My abstracts are composed of bold sweeps of beautiful color combinations and a strong use of line to carry the viewer through the work. These paintings come from happy accidents, a childlike joy of curiosity to experiment and take risks. My florals are full of letters, numbers, dots, and other surprises playing against the organic shapes. In my figurative work, geishas have emerged as the centerpieces, which represent women who put on a perfect mask in public to try and stay beautiful in the face of adversity such as cancer, war, or domestic issues.
After receiving a commission from Children’s National Medical Center in 2010, I took the leap to become a full-time artist. I was juried into the Workhouse Arts Center in 2013 as a resident artist. My work has been selected for shows in Delaware, Washington, D.C., Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia including solo shows at the Art League in Alexandria, VA and Artists & Makers, in Rockville, MD. I have been recognized in the Washington Post, Elan Magazine and Acrylic Works. My paintings have been collected internationally by corporations and private owners.
—M. Jane Johnson