Painting my Way Back

Tools of the Trade

Hi there. How are you?

If you've been following me on Instagram or Facebook lately, you've seen that I been painting again. For the first time in at least 4 years, I've put brush to canvas.

Long before I was a mixed media artist, I was a painter. I liked to paint big, bold, and intuitively.

Aloha, 2009

This was the last painting I worked on.  It was a  huge collaborative piece that Matt and I made back in 2009, shortly after we started dating. Entitled "Aloha", this piece measures 84" wide by 43" high and proudly hangs in our dining room. Prior to this piece, it had been years since I painted. I didn't really have a space to paint in and I was tired of the setup and clean up time required with painting. Especially with oils!

So now, the artistic tides have turned once again, and paint was calling to me.

In our studio there was a large canvas painted a flat aqua, that used to function as a faux headboard back in my bedroom. One day last week, I had a large block of time with nothing to do, and went to work on it.

Acrylic painting in progress

At first, painting was slow going and it felt awkward.

I put this first coat of magenta down, and left it at that. After so many years of making stuff, I've learned that if the process doesn't feel good, it's best just to step away for a time.

Painting in progress

The next day, I was back at it.

Things were beginning to flow. My painting felt less forced and more intuitive.

Painting almost complete

I added a little blue the next day.

I intended to add more, but had to go to my day job. When I came back to it the following day, it looked more complete and whole, closer to completion than it had to me the prior day. As I've talked about at length, deciding when a composition is finished is always always a struggle for me. It's especially challenging with abstract works. I hate to overdo, but I don't want things to look unfinished either.

I decided not to overdo. So instead of laying down a lot more paint, I just fixed up a couple of spots that were bothering me and called it done.

Here is the finished piece.

2015 Painting by Jennifer Johansson
2015 painting detail

 I took this canvas outside to take these shots, so that the color is more accurate. It's not easy to photograph things in my basement studio! In these photos you can see that the negative space is not white, but actually the pale aqua.

I may look at this painting for a while and decide to rework, but for now, I'm satisfied. It was a good first dive back into painting.

Do you like this piece? Get in touch if you'd like to purchase!

Ta-ta for now!