Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Ocean House, Watch Hill, RI
   It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air. 
~W.T. Ellis

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Circles, Dots and Spots - Paper Swap

Right about the time I heard about the chocolate swap, I found out about the paper swap that is also hosted by LaWendula. This swap was based around the theme of "circles, dots and spots". She has been hosting paper swaps with different themes for several years and has people from all over the world that take part. You receive the name of your paper swap partner and you then contact each other by email to exchange mailing addresses. 

It was pretty easy to collect papers for this theme. Once you start looking circles and dots are everywhere - a tea bag, the inside of a birthday card envelope, scrapbook papers, a coffee cup stain on a napkin, even the wrapper of the new "air delight" candy Kiss. I neatly packed all the papers I collected in the 2-3 weeks allowed in a handmade folder (keeping with the theme, of course) and shipped them off to Karen in Hannover, Germany. I hope she will have fun finding uses for some of these papers. 


I really miss getting all the cards and letters that used to come in the mail. It's not very exciting going to the mail box to collect yet another bill or credit card invite so waiting for my package to arrive from Karen was half the fun. Here's a look at the different papers (along with a few other circular odds and ends) that she sent.

Can't wait to use some of these papers in future collages. I've been thinking on a project involving lots of collages for the coming year. More on that once I get my idea (and my courage!) together.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Chocolate makes everything better, right?

I agree so I just had to take part in the Chocolate Swap at the Paper Swap Blog organized by LaWendula when I heard about it.

I was paired up with the swap organizer LaWendula and this is what I received, all the way from Germany:
Delicious chocolate and great quote:
"To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong."
 ~Joseph Chilton Pearce

I found the chocolate bars I sent at Flavours of Life a great the Fair Trade store in New London, CT.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

"Winter Relief; Burnishing the Cold"

postcard design by Sarah Martin

The opening reception was December 10th so, yes, I am a little late telling you about this show by the Stonington Printmakers Society at the La Grua Center in Stonington Borough. It features a wide variety of printmaking techniques by local artists and runs through Feb 15th so it's not too late to stop by and see all the wonderful works. The show can be seen during all the centers events and will also be open January 22nd for a special viewing from 10am-12pm.

I worked on a few relief prints...

transferring sketches to printing plate and starting to carve image
inking the plate

basic system made from cardboard to register the colors
'Weed' K Johnson 2011

and still working on getting the hang of the gelatin plate printing technique - getting better but going through a lot of paper in the process!
'Lily Love' K Johnson 2011

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Good Tidings, Great Art

Thanksgiving is over and December is just 4 days away - hard to believe we are closing in on the end of another year. In my last post I mentioned that there were several upcoming events I was getting ready for. The second is less than 2 weeks away so I was working away over this nice long weekend getting as many things as possible finished up.

I am really excited to be a guest artist in the Good Tidings, Great Art event at Above Elite Studios in Westerly, Rhode Island. This is always a fun and festive event and each year it just gets better. I will be in very good company with a group of local artists whose work and talents I greatly admire.

postcard design by Millie Donovan
Above Elite Studio artists Laura Gaffke and Millie Donovan have been working non stop to make this the most spectacular 2 day event. Other guests artists include Sarah Martin, Juli Rankin Mancini, Jaclyn Murphy, Ian Newbury and Diana Sartor.


Above Elite Studios
{over Elite Dry Cleaners}
181 Main St., Westerly, RI 02891

Here's a peak at some new work I'll will be showing for the first time.
'Homestead' K. Johnson 2011

'Almost Gone' K. Johnson 2011

'Horizon I' K. Johnson 2011

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Busy, Busy, Busy

Aren't we all this time of year?

There are several upcoming events I've been getting ready for. These are some of the new "mini" mixed media pieces in progress for the ART=Gift show at the Hygienic Gallery in New London, CT.

A few of the finished pieces I dropped off at the gallery yesterday morning.

'Gounded' K. Johnson 2011
'Taking in the Sun' K. Johnson 2011
'Tumbling' K. Johnson 2011
 Opening Reception is Saturday, November 19, 7-10 PM 
photo by Millie Donovan

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Welcome Tigger & Belle

Finally decided after a year and a half of no cats that it was time to have some furry critters in the house again. A week ago Sunday we paid a visit to the CT Humane Societies beautiful new facility in Quaker Hill to see who might need a home. I've been telling my friends and family for months - no kittens and no male cats. Well, I managed to break all my own rules. Look who we came home with...

Tigger, a one year old boy who was abandoned by his original owner and came to the facility with an upper respiratory infection. He is friendly, outgoing and has the cutest squeaky but very loud purr.

Belle, a three month old girl from a feral litter had hypothermia when she was found but is doing fine now. She still spends most of her time hiding under the bed. She is quiet and shy except when chasing Tigger up and down the stairs at one o'clock in the morning! 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Artful Seeing

Squam Workshop #3

It was a perfect sunny Saturday morning for the last SAW activity of the weekend. We wore our hiking shoes and carried our cameras as Shari Altman guided us along the Five Fingers Point Trail (part of the trail system for Rattlesnake Mountain in Holderness, NH) for her workshop called "Artful Seeing". To keep us focused on looking at the natural world with different and questioning eyes she gave us creative challenges for color, composition, and light. She talked about her series of photos called "by the waters edge" which I was really intrigued by. I did take some photos during the morning with this idea in mind as she got me thinking about the interest to be seen in the many different ways and places that water meets the earth.  

"Squam Lake Waters Edge" K. Johnson
"Through the Pine" K. Johnson
"Flowing Water" K. Johnson
"Autumn Leaf" K. Johnson
More photos from the workshop can be seen here.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Art & Spirit Boxes

Squam Workshop #2

The second day at SAW was again at the cozy Sugar House cabin.
This is how we were greeted at the door.

I remember being drawn right in by Maya Donenfeld's description of the "Art & Spirit Boxes" workshop because using recycled and everyday materials is something I love to do. After a guided meditation to get us in a creative frame of mind we got started on our first project of making boxes to carry tools and supplies out of used wax paper/saran wrap type boxes. We disassembled the boxes, worked on both sides, painting, collaging and stamping before gluing them back together. Time flew by and I felt like I was just getting started and it was already time to leave for lunch. I'm envious of those who are able to finish their projects in the time allotted in a workshop. I always seem to be finishing later at home.

beginning stage of my Tool box
In the afternoon we worked on the "Spirit" box part of the class. This was an exercise of looking within and creating a shadow box of sorts that reflects some part of your life. Again, I'm finishing this one at home and will share when I do get around to finishing it.

You can see more pictures of the workshop and get a peek at some of the boxes created by classmates on Maya's Blog.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Stratalicious, Baby!

Squam Workshop #1

After arriving in New Hampshire for SAW the first day to sunshine and 80 degree weather the second day started out rainy and a bit gray. The mood soon brightened as I walked into the Sugar House and Mary Beth Shaw got us going in her workshop called "Stratalicious, Baby!" How could you not want to take a class with a fun name like that! 
Sugar House aka "Sugar Shack"
With great music playing in the background we watched as she demonstrated creating a “rock like” design on Clay Board. Mary Beth’s easy going style made it feel comfortable for us to jump right in and give it a try ourselves. Time to get messy adding texture and color! I was really looking forward to trying the Wood Icing that I read about in her book Flavor for Mixed Media.
The mornings start on my 2 panels.
In the afternoon we tried some encaustic techniques by adding more layers with beeswax, clear and with dry pigments mixed in. I liked seeing how you can work oil paint into crevices scratched in the wax surface.  

Can you believe these started out as the demo pieces for the class? 
by Mary Beth Shaw

It was so much fun working on this experimental piece. I’ll be able to look back at it and remember all that I learned and how much fun the eight of us had in class that day.
One of my "finished" panels

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Back to Life, Back to Reality....

On Sunday I returned from 4 days in New Hampshire where I attended the Squam Art Workshops at the beautiful Rockywold-Deephaven Camps.

My first thoughts and a few pictures from this nearly indescribable experience:
- Traveled with the fears and nerves of an adventure to a new place with new people.
- Overwhelmed but arrived to a sea of smiling faces
- A warm welcome from my "Eldorado" cabin mates. 
- Relaxed, explored and settled into the weekend.
- Attended workshops with the most talented and giving teachers.
- Met fellow creative souls at every turn. 
- Enjoyed delicious meals I didn't have to shop for, cook or clean up after.
- Warmed by the evening cabin fire gatherings where I laughed so much my face hurt.
- Tears as I drove away not wanting it to end.
- Knowing I'm a little different than I was one week ago.

More about the 3 fantastic workshops I attended soon.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Sketchbook Challenge - August

I thought I had all last weekend to have this post ready but was interrupted by a visit from Tropical Storm Irene. There was quite a bit of damage throughout the state but I am one of the very lucky ones who's home did not loose power. The yard was covered with tree branches and debris, so we had a couple days worth of clean up to do. My only small inconvenience was not having a land line phone or Internet until late in the week. 
A big Thank You to all the workers who have arrived from other states to help restore power which I read is expected to be at one hundred percent by this Wednesday. 

August theme - Everyday Objects
This past month was an interesting study of things I see and use everyday - the many common objects that are designed for function. It's probably the first time I ever looked at my toothbrush, umbrella, and salt shaker with an appreciation for the unique beauty in each item.

Two of my everyday objects: the mug I drink my morning coffee from and the handbag I throw over my shoulder each day as I leave for work.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Just picked today!

I guess I planted all mid to late season varieties this year because my tomatoes are just now getting ripe enough to pick. I love the yellow and orange varieties that I discovered a couple years ago and they are now a "must have" in my garden. Being lower in acid they have a little less bite. This years yellow variety is called Carolina Gold. 

I came across this simple recipe for a pesto dressing in a pile of saved recipe clippings. I wish I knew where I found it so I could give credit but I didn't make any notes and I just can't remember. It's delicious and goes perfectly with the seasons fresh tomatoes.

Pesto Dressing

2 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
1/3 cup Olive Oil
¼ cup lightly packed fresh Basil Leaves
1 clove Garlic, minced
¼ tsp each Salt and Sugar
¼ cup grated Parmesan Cheese 

In blender or food processor combine vinegar, basil, salt, sugar, cheese and oil. Process until smooth. Slice tomatoes and arrange on a serving dish. Drizzle tomatoes with dressing.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Collages - Making Progress

My table is even a bigger mess then it was back here as I can't pull myself away from  working on more of these collages. I brought in a folding table so I could have more room to spread out all the materials I'm using. There are still several in various stages of being done but... 

I did manage to pull together and finish 8 panels in the last month or so to complete two pieces that I entered in the Mystic Arts Center's 55th Regional Juried Show. I'm so happy to say that this one was accepted for the show!

'Second Chance' 17" x 33.25"  Kathy Johnson
This is a detail of one of the panels. You can see the other panel details here along with the second completed collage.

'Second Chance' detail of panel 4
I have not seen the show yet so I am looking forward to the the opening reception this Thursday the 11th. In addition to all the wonderful art on view for the The Regional Show is a solo exhibition by artist Jennifer Wheeler. One of her colorful works was the first place winner in last years Regional Show. Both shows continue through September 24th.