You could call her as much of a fixture with the Visual Arts Studio Association as the paintings on the wall. Carol Johnson has been with the local arts collective since it started, and has never slowed down.
In fact, she's one of its most prolific members. Stop into the VASA headquarters at 25 Sir Winston Churchill Avenue (the old RCMP detachment, now known as the Hemingway Centre) any day and you'll probably find Johnson hard at work in her studio, painting any number of a wide variety of nature scenes.
“I've always been an artist,” she said, remembering her teen years when she first picked up a paintbrush. “I took a fine arts course at ‘Grant Mac' because I wanted to be a fine artist.”
Mission accomplished. Johnson's extraordinary wildlife creatures and gorgeous landscape scenes are mesmerizing for their attention to detail and for how they capture precious moments in time for the viewer to enjoy time and time again.
A practiced oil artist, she finds her inspiration to paint images that are filled with beauty and energy. A poised elk, a prancing peacock, a tidal pool rippled with foamy wave ridges… these are the sights that fascinate this local painter, and entrance viewers of her work in turn.
“I always wanted to be a wildlife artist. I paint the things that I would really like to get up close and personal to, and really interact with ... just to bring things closer. That's my way of interacting with the things that I can't touch. It's like clouds. I did my Cloud series and you can't touch them but when you paint them, you are touching them.”
The artist has had a particularly successful series of water movements, something that she is as pleased with as she is proud of. She loves the sea and says that watching water is one of her favourite pastimes. Still, she knows how difficult it is to recreate such frenetic flashes of fluidity as waves crashing on the beach.
People get really engaged with these pieces, she exclaimed, adding that she paints from her heart. She must paint with much deliberation from her head too. Despite the notoriously messy nature of oil paint, she doesn't have flecks of many colours on her clothes.
“I don't need a smock. It's got nothing to do with professionalism. It's just that I'm that fussy. I started painting in my living room. It has white carpet. The paint stays where it belongs!”
She last exhibited as part of VASA's All Members' Show in May and previously participated in the St. Albert Place Visual Arts Council's Guilded show at the Art Gallery of St. Albert in 2009.
Johnson has works available in the Art Rental and Sales Gallery at the Art Gallery of St. Albert. She is also available for commissions.
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