Thursday, November 25, 2021

DPW Spotlight Interview: Jenny Johansen

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings. To enter to win Jenny's painting "Daydreamer" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Jenny's DPW Gallery Page:

Finding the sound within silence

Jenny became an artist after spending time entranced in Utah's landscapes. She believes that every landscape has soul and soundtrack, and works to convey those rhythms and notes through her paintings.

Fascinated by classic paintings on copper and the natural luminance, it became her preferred painting surface. The combination of bold color and copper light give her paintings a sound that is best experienced in person.

You will find Jenny on remote roads, happily lost in the desert, or on a mountain peak; observing the always changing light and taking in every breath of that harmonic high.

What did you want to be growing up?

I grew up in a household with a father who played guitar in a band through the late 60’s and 70s. I always wanted to be creative and thought of being a songwriter/singer, or interior designer. The idea of landscape painting had never crossed my mind.

When did your artistic journey begin?

My creative side really started to manifest itself in high school. First with poetry and later with visual arts.

(click to view)

Enter to win by clicking on the link at the top of the DPW home page announcing Jenny's interview.

Did you have long periods without creative expression? How did you get back on the horse?

I married after highschool and focused on family life. Even though I was not focused on oil painting, I was still very engaged artistically through restoring a Victorian home, photography and other creative pursuits throughout daily life. As my children grew up they became engaged in creative endeavors.

Which mediums and genres do you gravitate toward? Which ones don’t appeal? 

I never saw myself as a landscape painter; yet the more time I spent outdoors the more I grew to appreciate unique moments that can only be found in the wild. After signing up for a plein air workshop on a whim with my mother-in-law, who is a plein air landscape artist, I was surprised at how differently I viewed the landscape. I began to experiment in oil, basic values and composition. After seeing a painting on copper, I became very intrigued in the look of oil on copper. Copper became my preferred surface almost immediately. Post impressionist art has always been my favorite and I think that shows in my work and the use of copper gives my paintings an ethereal atmosphere.

Afternoon Layers
(click to view)

What was the process like of pinpointing your personal style or finding your voice?

Finding my artistic voice has been a long process, and at times frustrating. Pulling out oil paints and dedicating time to practice while raising 6 kids is not the most ideal way to find peace. I relied upon plein air festivals as incentive to motivate me to paint seriously at least a few times a year. Having always been drawn to vivid color, it felt natural when my preferences surfaced through paint choices. When I first started painting, I focused heavily on the use of a palette knife. It has been only the last few years that brush work has become my primary tool in painting. I’ve grown to love the effects of leaving bits of copper showing through on my paintings.

Name an artist (or artists), well known or not, you admire. Why?

You hear of Vincent Van Gogh a lot when artists reference influences, yet he is an inescapable influence on my love of landscape paintings. I love the movement in his paintings and the story of his struggles and being human. They speak to me, and I become rather emotional every time I get the opportunity to view his paintings in real life.

After the Storm
(click to view)

If you could offer one piece of advice to your younger, creative self - what would that be?

Never underestimate the power of practice.

Do you utilize any habits or tricks for winning the distraction and procrastination battle?

A designated place for the creation of art is vital. Do not put your art supplies away, ever! It’s really hard to get them back out. Make a habit out of observing, seeing, and creating art.

(click to view)

In moments of self-doubt or adversity, how do you push forward?

I visited an art exhibit in an LA art gallery which was an old wash board with a dirty coat in water that had attracted lots of flies. I couldn’t really see the beauty in it, but it helped me to realize that everyone’s view of art is different. I also remind myself that people have enjoyed my paintings enough to buy them for themselves.

Even paintings that I think are failures, speak to people in important ways. The fact that people find meaning in my art, even if not what I see or intended, helps me find the motivation to share more.

What are some of your long and short term goals for yourself or your art?

It’s taken 16 years to get to the crossroad that I’m at now. I have a little more time and have simple goals: paint more. I have been able to set up a more reliable practice and share what I am creating. In doing so I have found that a lot more people are paying attention. My long term goals are to continue to share those moments I can capture in paint.

90% Chance of Rain
(click to view)

What does success mean to you personally?

It makes me happy knowing that people have found a connection in my work and have my art hanging in their homes. Knowing that something I made spoke to someone enough that they would put it in their personal space is enough.

What is one of your proudest moments in your creative life?

There are many impactful moments for artists, but for me the opportunity to inspire my children to be creative, to see practice lead to art, is what makes all the mistakes and practice pay off.

Thanks, Jenny!

© 2021 Sophie Marine

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