Hi there. My name is Cheryl Johnson. I live in a log cabin with my husband Don and two cats in Campton, New Hampshire, USA. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love art. As a kid, I avidly absorbed everything my art teachers had to offer. My high school mentor, a former sign painter and illustrator, introduced me to pen and ink and graphic arts.
After graduation, I took up sign painting and truck lettering, and later worked at an ad agency. After a few years, I started a small commercial printing company, which I ran for nearly 25 years. I spent my days doing typesetting, graphic design, illustrating and interacting with customers.
During my professional life, I continued to draw, mostly in pen and ink, and occasionally dabbled in acrylics. When I sold my business and retired, I decided to teach myself watercolor. All those years of pen and ink and graphic arts had made my style very tight and precise. I thought that watercolor would loosen me up. However, silly me, I soon discovered that was not to be.
I bought a handful of how-to watercolor instruction books and completed many of the step-by-step lessons. The more I learned, the more I loved the medium. However, instead of becoming looser in my style, I found techniques that allowed me to achieve the same level of detail that I was able to get with pen and ink. I especially enjoy creating textures, and have learned how to produce realistic weathered wood, stone, rusty metal, peeling paint, fur, feathers and more.
I paint and/or draw nearly every day in my studio located right outside my front door, using my own photos as reference. I regularly participate in local, regional and national exhibitions. My favorite watercolor subjects include landscapes, old buildings, rust, stone, wildlife, and close-ups of anything with lots of texture. I like bold colors and strong contrasts. I find my subject matter by browsing through tag sales and thrift shops in search of interesting objects for still life, visiting local scrap yards to take photos of junk cars, and traveling the back roads of New England where I find the landscapes I love to paint.
About my materials: My preferred watercolors are M. Graham and Daniel Smith, and I always use Arches cold-pressed paper (140# or 300#). For brushes, I like Silver Brush Black Velvet. Occasionally I use gouache or watercolor pencils for final details.
Watercolorists I especially admire — my “watercolor superheroes”— include the photorealists Angus McEwan, Carol Evans, Lana Matich Privitera, Mikhail Starchenko, Stanislaw Zoladz, Steven Kozar, David Poxon, Soon Y. Warren, and Laurin McCracken.
In addition to painting, I also get great pleasure from passing along what I have learned. I teach weekly classes at my home studio, and I can honestly say that I have learned more from teaching than from all the books I have read. Since some of my students have been with me for more than a decade, I have to constantly challenge myself to stay ahead of them. When I am not making art, I spend most of my time gardening, reading, knitting, or taking photos.
I would like to thank Charlie O’Shields and Doodlewash for the wonderful opportunity to share my work with you as a guest artist. Keep your brushes wet!Recommended3 recommendationsPublished in