My name is Joel R. Johnson and I grew up in Sinclair, Wyoming and currently live in Vero Beach, Florida. I have chosen the medium of watercolor as my means of expression in painting. This is due in part to my love of drawing and the love of the feel of paper.
I began drawing in elementary school and continued through high school and earned a degree in studio art and education. Over the years, I also finished my MFA degree in painting and taught in several venues including college, private art schools, and painting workshops.
At this time my concentration is on my watercolor painting. My interests are in using light to amplify its effects on form, color, value, and texture regardless of the subjects chosen to paint. My aim is hopefully to engage the viewer through these elements and also the principles of design to feel the emotion the artist experienced in the watercolor painting process as well as the final statement in paint.
My response to a given subject is a spontaneous visual feeling that is felt and later realized in the studio in a variety of dimensions. The subjects chosen are vehicles of expression of these concerns. I am a realist and, as Homer, I am concerned with painting what I see. The process of drawing has helped enormously in being most successful in achieving this goal.
I use watercolor in a way that best suits my individual approach to painting an image. I am not concerned with exploiting its many varied techniques inherent to its nature as to be seen as a ‘watercolor.’ Over the years of painting, I have discovered the beautiful transparent nature of the medium and for me I use mostly transparent pigments. I do this in order to create many layers of color and value to achieve the luminosity in my work.
I use 300lb. Arches Cold Press which allows me to paint multiple layers (glazing) and also to work wet into wet mingling pigments together to create color combinations. I do not stretch my paper but will staple it down if it begins to buckle up in certain areas. I work as small as a quarter sheet up to 29×41” for larger works.
My influences over the years have been several. I love the simplicity of so much of Winslow Homers’ paintings and his great variety of subjects. Andrew Wyeths’ use of values and limited color gives a strong mood. His ability to contrast areas of focus against less developed spaces forms a strong design. Edward Hopper in his simple use of color and lack of detail created a strong sense of volume and weight in his works.
The Swedish painter Anders Zorn created great mood through his use of cool versus warm colors to make the viewer feel the Swedish landscape. Sargents’ paintings of Italy and especially Venice employ such great rhythmic brush strokes which convey the immediacy that the watercolor medium can bring forth in such hands!
The contemporary English painter Trevor Chamberlain exemplifies the richness of washes that carry a feeling of the ethereal that his plein air approach brings to his work.
I am including a variety of subjects which I have painted to give an idea of my interests. Many turn into a specific series if there is enough visual interest to sustain larger periods of work time. It is my hope that these examples will provide you with the feeling of how much I love to paint in watercolor! Enjoy.
Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!