In her oil paintings, Johnson explores themes of identity and self-awareness. Raised in Orange and San Diego counties, she draws heavily from her surroundings. “I find inspiration not only in the natural and historical aspects of this land, but in how it morphs into something new every year,” says Johnson, who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Laguna College of Art & Design.
Johnson stages the composition she has in mind, photographs it, and then digitally creates a single image that becomes her guide for the painting. But she admits to deviating from her template as she paints. “I work intuitively. What may look right on screen, or through the lens, often seeks modification on the canvas.” Johnson frequently uses herself and her dog, Diego, as subjects.
“This piece explores commonplace experiences in SoCal: coyotes, beach chairs, walking your dog, reading a magazine, the shining sun and blue skies, and fruit trees, but compiled into a new reality. It fits with my latest series, which is an exploration of ‘home’—what home is, what home means, the transitory, the anchored, and the identification of oneself within all of these variables.”
Johnson’s paintings are displayed through Aug. 31 at the Festival of Arts, 650 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, 800-487-3378, foapom.com.
>>Online OnlyBrowse a gallery of Johnson's art here
This article originally appeared in the July 2013 issue.