new work

Playing with Paint

Hi there. How are you?

Ballpoints have started to bore me. I’m feeling limited by the color range. Yes, I can now get every color in the rainbow in a ballpoint, but there’s a limited amount of color mixing possible, and you can’t make a tint (pastel) or a shade (gray). There’s only so many color combinations possible, and that has started to annoy me.

Color has always been an important part of my work and a major form of expression for me. I needed to find a way to increase the range of colors possible in my work. So I looked backwards…

Unless you’ve been following me for an eternity, you might have not known that I was once a painter. I painted big abstract pieces and I loved to mix colors. Now, I am in no means ready to go back to painting all together, but I decided to try and incorporate some paint into my current work.

I had a set of gouache paints in my studio and one day I mixed up some olive green and painted some simple shapes on a few different types of paper. I’d never tried to draw on top of gouache, but as it’s a matte paint, I thought it might work.

My first experiment drawing on top of gouache was disappointing.

My first experiment drawing on top of gouache was disappointing.

As you can see here, the gouache chipped away as I drew on top of it. It looks kinda interesting, but that wasn’t really the look I was going for.

In an effort to add more color to my work, I’ve been experimenting with drawing on top of gouache.

In an effort to add more color to my work, I’ve been experimenting with drawing on top of gouache.

I did some more experimenting and found that if I thinned the gouache with some water, it chipped a whole lot less. There’s a little bit of chipping in some of the dark areas of this drawing, but I don’t think it detracts from the piece as a whole.

A couple of my lovely  Instagram followers  suggested I try drawing on top of acrylic ink.

A couple of my lovely Instagram followers suggested I try drawing on top of acrylic ink.

Acrylic ink is Awesome!

A couple of my lovely Instagram followers suggested I try drawing on top of acrylic ink. I am so far out of the painting world, that I had never even heard to acrylic ink. I was excited to find these Amsterdam acrylic inks at the craft store and promptly tried them out and made a whole bunch of backgrounds.

*PSST. This is an affiliate link. As an Amazon Influencer, I earn a small commission when you purchase with this link. It's a small way to support the work I do without any cost to you. (Thank you!)

I had a ball MIXING colors.

The acrylic ink is super concentrated, opaque, and flows nicely. It is just what I was looking for!

I’m on a roll!

In the last few weeks, I’ve made 6 new drawings. This is the most drawing I’ve done outside of my sketchbook in at least a year!

The paint has certainly helped me to expand my color palette and it gives these drawings more dimension. I am so proud of this work and can’t wait to see it all framed and hung together. I’ve committed to doing a show at a local coffee house with some friends in April. Wish me luck! Framing is not my favorite.

What should I title this drawing series? Do tell!

What should I title this drawing series? Do tell!

Title suggestions welcomed

I need your help, friends. What should I title this series? I’m stumped. What do you see when you look at these? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

That’s all for now.

I’ll be back soon to talk about a surprise gift that has become a one of my favorite art supplies.

Ciao, Jen


Every Vote Matters: Postcards to Voters

Hi there. How are you?

I’m always looking for new and creative ways to utilize my abstract drawings. When a friend of mine asked me to to design a voter postcards to send out in "get out the vote" campaigns, I was happy to oblige. 

My "Every Vote Matters" postcards are ideal for "get out the vote" campaigns. Click to purchase. 

My "Every Vote Matters" postcards are ideal for "get out the vote" campaigns. Click to purchase. 

Every Vote Matters

Now that it's 2018, we can start to focus our attention on the midterm elections. If you're unhappy with the way things went in 2017, now is OUR time to make a difference. Enter the "Postcards to Voters" campaign. 

Postcards to Voters are friendly, handwritten reminders from volunteers to targeted voters in close, key races coast to coast. This grassroots movement started in March 2017 with just 5 volunteers writing postcards to voters in one special election in Georgia. There are now over 10,000 volunteers writing postcards in all 50 states that have written some 500,000 postcards to voters. 

It's an easy way to make a positive, political impact. 

Interested in volunteering to write Postcards to Voters? Click through to learn how. 

Interested in volunteering to write Postcards to Voters? Click through to learn how. 

So, I decided to volunteer!

I just finished up my first batch of voter postcards on my very own postcards. In just one evening, I was able to crank out 20 handwritten postcards to Pennsylvania voters. Postcards to Voters provides the "talking points" and the address, so all I had to do was write, stamp and send. 

Postcards by Karen Fiorino of Clay Lick Creek Pottery. Click through to purchase. 

Postcards by Karen Fiorino of Clay Lick Creek Pottery. Click through to purchase. 

My friend made some too!

My good friend Karen of Clay Lick Creek Pottery has also made some voter postcards. It's cool that she was able translate her signature pottery motifs onto 2-d postcards. I'm particularly fond of the top design, and the play of the organic shapes against the bold blue stripes. It's sure to grab the voter's attention, don't you think?

Postcards by Mary Hawkins on Etsy. Click through to purchase. 

Postcards by Mary Hawkins on Etsy. Click through to purchase. 

Other Voter Postcards on Etsy

I found these voter postcards by Mary Hawkins on Etsy. I'm totally smitten with the US map design. It's a good reminder that every vote, every where is important. She's got a whole shop full of postcards and other voter themed goodies, even washi tape! 

Every Vote Matters postcards feature my abstract ballpoint drawing. Click through to purchase. 

Every Vote Matters postcards feature my abstract ballpoint drawing. Click through to purchase. 

I'm so pleased with how my postcards turned out. This design really pops. The blue ballpoint drawing provides a great backdrop for the very simple, but important message. I can't wait to send more of these out! 

If you'd like to purchase these and start writing postcards to voters yourself, click HERE.

One last thing!

I can't end this post without giving a shout-out to my friend Emily, who encouraged me to design these postcards and to volunteer for Postcards to Voters. She's the mastermind behind Ekra, a fab handmade shop featuring customized map art. She's also an awesome, political animal! I admire her willingness to step up and get involved. 

That's all for now. Ciao! 

Just one more thing....Don't forget to Vote! 

 

Sending My Love to You

Hi there. How are you?

Creativity can be a crazy, illusive thing. Sometimes you just have to be patient and wait for it to come to you. Patience is definitely not my strong suit, and I have a tendency to beat myself up when things are not flowing for me artistically. In my head, I'm sure I'll never have another good idea, I'll never make another good drawing, and I'll never sell anything again. Luckily, I know and recognize these patterns and have learned to just give myself a break when my artistic mojo is waning. 

As soon as I let go of that worry and anxiety, inspiration will find me once more.  After a couple of weeks of making sub-par work, my inspiration finally returned to me this weekend! I spent the better part of Saturday and Sunday in my studio making new things. Hooray!

Here's a couple of the things I made.

Illustrated greeting card by Jennifer Johansson. Click through to purchase.

Illustrated greeting card by Jennifer Johansson. Click through to purchase.

Love you. Mean it.

The sentiment on this card comes from Jen, one of my dearest friends. Sometimes shortened to "LUMI", this phrase is sent in texts, uttered at the end of phone calls, or said with a hug at the end of the night among our group of friends.

Though this was intended as a Valentine's Day card, you could send this anytime you want to send someone some love through the mail!

Illustrated greeting card by Jennifer Johansson. Click through to purchase.

Illustrated greeting card by Jennifer Johansson. Click through to purchase.

Sending My Love to You

I drew this envelope pattern in my sketchbook months ago with the intention of making this card. I couldn't ever get it quite right and make it work until this weekend! That pencil. Don't you love it?? It's my favorite part.

Like the "LUMI" card, this card would also make a great Valentine or anytime greeting. Both cards are blank on the inside for you to add your own message and come with a matching white envelope. You can get both of my new Valentines in my shop, and I'll ship 'em just as soon as you order.

That's all for Now

I've got to get back to making before this wave of creativity leaves me again! Expect to hear from me next week. Ciao!