Thursday, August 1, 2019

Jumpin' July

Trying out a monthly newsletter format - comments and suggestions welcomed. 

Still working on getting more motivated, but managed to put a few paintings together.  Admittedly two were just a day apart and the last one just barely slid into July (thanks to a club challenge).

Summer Bouquet
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Our small "roof" deck is the only sunny spot for a garden so this year trying a few perennials to see if they will survive the winter. A lot of stairs getting everything from the garage to the top floor!  Things are going well for now - fingers crossed they all make it through the winter.  Naturally had to add a few annuals for color.

Wouldn't you love this bright and vivacious painting for a "desk" garden in your home or office?

Farmer's Market

Nothing better than the freshest food from the local farmer's market. Even though I'm not a morning person, the ambiance and community at these events is worth getting up for. Loved the way this turned out and once again, a difficult subject seems to get me going.  Either that, or low expectations usually produce more positive results. . . .

Salt & Pepper
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Before you pass judgement, this was a club challenge to paint a statue.  Well guess what, we don't really have any statues around here and the massive photo search didn't come up with much either. . . . so I resorted to a fun little ceramic salt and pepper shaker that somehow has survived multiple rounds of downsizing.  Quite the challenge painting a super-white, quirky looking dog tho! 

Enjoy, life is joy you make one moment at a time - Johnna
p.s. I'll try and work on formatting next month.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Spoonful of Summer

What's not to love - just picked fruit with a shiny spoon casting summer shadows. 

Update:  Apparently blogging has become passé in the art world, to be replaced by monthly newsletters and Instagram so find me @JohnnaArtVA along with a few of my other "creative" projects. 

Spoonful of Summer
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I guess we can assume my former somewhat-daily-blog has become infrequent enough that we should just admit it and call it a newsletter. I haven't given up painting, but still clawing my way out of a slump.  The blog has been a fantastic way to keep track of progress, thoughts, challenges and a way to connect with art lovers - so I think I'll keep going and switch to the monthly format at some point.  Thanks so much for hanging in there with me.  

Enjoy, life is joy we make one moment at a time – Johnna

p.s Happy to report Irish Window Sill just landed in Michigan to none other than a high school classmate from Wiesbaden, Germany!  Great memories from the years living in Europe.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Where's the Sage?

Actually the title of this painting should be Parsley, Rosemary and Thyme.   I'm sure most will get it the nuance.  More importantly this was my first at-home painting after attending Sarah Sedwick's workshop on dynamic painting.  Wonderful class and terrific crowd of artists.  Shout-out to the venue and Mónica Linares.  Check it out - wide variety of workshops. 

Where's the Sage?
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Sarah's approach is nearly opposite to mine, but figured it was time to switch things up.  I am mesmerized by her work and so lucky that this Oregon based artist ventured out to the east coast. Sarah is a delightful person and more importantly a great teacher. She runs an engaging workshop with demos, instruction, "exercises" and enlightening critiques (direct and positive).  Her involvement even continues afterwards with an alumni Facebook page, links to supplies, YouTube Videos, etc.  She also offers an online mentorship program. 

Sarah's approach that I incorporated into this painting (unlike previous ones!):
  1. Sketch - it's one thing to draw an outline on a canvas with paint, but another to actually sketch it out emphasizing the lights and darks.  These are large thumbnails which are quite helpful in making sure the composition works. 
  2. Apply Underpainting - cover canvas with a neutral tone and draw "again" by wiping out the light areas and darkening the darkest parts. This I get, but can't you just paint it that way?
  3. Globs - Premix all the paint you are going to need, for each area - well this involves MATH and guesstimates so another super-sized challenge. 
  4. Execute Painting - okay this was familiar, BUT this time there's a whole plan, strategy, multiple eyeball-to-mind-melds with the subject, and a different comfort level than before.  Hard to explain, but the number of decisions to be made are mostly done up-front rather than on-the-fly.  hmmmmm. . . . 
Did you notice the SAGE advice numbered above?

Thumbnail ~ 3 1/2"
How can it be that a former professional project manager and software engineer not have a plan before a project?  Today's mystery for sure - ha, ha.

Learned a ton and continuing along my artistic journey - now time to practice, practice, practice. 

Feel free to contact me for more info.

Enjoy, life is joy we make one moment at a time, Johnna

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Bread 101

If you've never made bread before it's quite interesting and fun.  There's a woman nearby who teaches old-world style - and get this - new advancements in bread "technology."  For real.  After a few hours of hands-on labor and learning, we were served an over-the-top Charcuterie board to enjoy with the bread she started, but we finished making/baking.  A time to enjoy our accomplishments and ask questions. We all happily left with our new knowledge, ready-to-eat brioche & focaccia,  and our prepared, unproofed dough to make at home.  Check out her website if you're in the neighborhood Knead and Know (Middleburg, VA).  Other people in the class drove over an hour to get there, it's that good.

I loved her story about someone who said "do people really pay you to teach them how to make bread? Can they not follow a recipe?"  Since I grew up with a non-baking Mom, I think it might be a lot like making art - anyone can do it and read a bunch of book(s), but not really "get it" until a teacher takes you by the hand and guides you forward.  Then it's practice, practice, practice!

Bread 101
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Enjoy, life is joy we make one "bite" at a time, Johnna

p.s. my Mom was an awesome cook - always trying new things and making every day a bit of an adventure.  She took a bread baking class later in life which is what inspired me to give it a try.

Sunday, March 3, 2019


Oranges in ceramic fruit stand. Love the play of the blue and orange complementary colors. The panel was toned in a pinkish red that peeks through the background (click the zoom under the photo to see detail).  Seems whenever I paint with my artist friends things just work our better.   So glad to have creatives in my life!

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The photo reference is from my favorite photographer on Paint My Photo - Viacheslav, from Russia - amazing still life set ups.  In this case, I chose to do one small part of the scene since I fell in love the fruit bowl.

Enjoy, life is joy we make one moment at a time,  Johnna

Friday, March 1, 2019

Maldives Palm

Would love to jet off to some tropical island right about now!  Another huge cold front coming even though it's finally March. I always forget how long it takes to get past winter and early spring.  Excited that warm skies are coming and spring is just around the corner.

The photo reference is from the Maldives which is a tiny spec in the rather huge Indian Ocean. The scene was quite tranquil and there was a cool swing hooked to the tree.  With a bit of artistic license, it now looks like a storm is underway.  Guess the season has taken control of my paint brush!  Landscapes are a challenge for me, but good for getting out of my comfort zone.  Surprised that I really like this one - what's not to like about loose strokes, thick paint and a touch of drama in the atmosphere?  

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Is It Summer Yet?

Enjoy, life is joy we make one moment at a time, Johnna

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Heart of Gold

Simple, elegant valentine for a new love or a tried and true soul mate. Really anyone with a heart of gold. The reference photo for this one just begged me to paint it. Not sure why, but then again, why-not!  

Lately I've been trying to focus on the value of every day life and working to incorporate more "now or never / just do it" thinking - no excuse for putting things off, just give it a go.  I already know how to laugh at myself . . . .

Golden Heart
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Happy Valentines to all!  

Enjoy, life is joy we make one moment at a time - Johnna

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Fetching or Fletching

Who knew the "feathers" on a dart are called fletchings.  The Google tells me a fletching is a fin-shaped aerodynamic stabilization device attached to arrows, crossbow bolts or darts.  Of course, we all know that aerodynamic stabilization is important to love. . . .  ha, ha. 

I painted this because I thought the end looked like interlocking hearts and would fit right in with the holiday later this month.  A target also seemed appropriate because finding that right person is definitely a challenge.  So worth it though!

Love Target
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Enjoy, life is joy we make one moment at a time - Johnna

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Camping Story

Many years ago I had the opportunity to go on a camping trip through the south of France.  Certainly a trip that will never be forgotten.  When I saw this photo reference it immediately took be back to the foggy mornings, starting a fire, boiling water and brewing tea. What more could an 18 year old desire?  Well, since memories are also made of dire circumstances, we ran out of tea and couldn't figure out why we had "withdrawal symptoms." Back then didn't even know tea had caffeine!

Oh, and before I forget, I swore never to go camping again - turns out three weeks in a tent along the French Riviera is "not my cup of tea!"  There was sand in everything. I would love to go back someday, but stay in a nice hotel with room service and hot showers.  ha ha.

It goes without saying, there were tons of fantastic memories from that trip and a few other "lessons learned."  Now it all just makes for great story-telling. Travel seems to create unforgettable memories. . . .

Campfire Tea
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Happy to report that Little Pink Carnations is off to Oak Hill, VA and Peek A Boo II is headed to a first time Grandmother.  Life is to be celebrated.

Enjoy, life is joy we make one moment at a time – Johnna

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Photo reference: Pixabay nasircoolboy1 tea pot - seriously.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Little Pink Carnations

​Very tiny vase with a few colorful pink carnations that I threw together for our newly renovated bathroom - wow really made an impact. Literally started the morning in a bright and happy place. The day just skipped along, surprising what a hot-swoosh of color can do to lighten your mood!

I was fascinated by the reflective glass as it hit the counter - really sparkly.  Probably over-painted (with a few palette knife slashes), but i love how it turned out. Who doesn't need a little bling first thing in the morning?  

Little Pink Carnations
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Trying to find and work on subjects that shine, glow, metal, glass, texture . . .  who knows what's next.

Enjoy, life is joy we make one moment at a time - Johnna