Thursday, April 19, 2018

Painting of Memories

This chickadee painting, done several years ago, is a tribute to my parents. If you look at the closeup at the end, I collaged in events they enjoyed from their weekly calendar. Rummikube. Never missed that with good friends. Wii bowling; precious memories of all those times we had together with them beating our pants off. Bingo; man, that game bores the crazy out of me, but they loved it. 


were in the Teeny Weeny Theater group too, and put on hilarious plays! The plays would begin like this:

“Well, we’re too old to remember our lines, so we’re going to read them.”

“We’re too old to act and move around a lot, so we’re going to sit in our chairs to do this.”

“We can’t hear very well, so you guys are going to have to be really quiet so we can hear each other’s lines,”

“We can’t speak very loudly anymore, so we’re going to pass these microphones around...”

The comedy was always a delight, and dad, of course, was the star of every show.  I remember one show where all the widows were after him and he liked them all. 

And of course, the black capped chickadee, my dad’s favorite. They instilled a love of birds in me, with their feeders and field guides. Right now, Gary and I are sitting outside celebrating the fact that we just saw a hummingbird and a woodpecker.   So many good memories. All wrapped up in one little painting.

Mom and Dad, I loved you well.  I don’t know how you did it, but you loved me through all those unloveable times. Today, I am thankful.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Student Winner

And this year’s Official Most-Improved Student Paint Bucket Award goes to... da da da da.... Megan Savaso!  Wow, Megan, way to go!  This award is no small thing.  Megan came in to my class timid and unsure of her work, striving for perfection (which is a really difficult and extremely frustrating, sometimes crippling problem in art).  I’ve seen her grow into an artist who can lay down paint that moves the wrong way and adjust with the flow, producing painting after beautiful painting.  I am REALLY, REALLY proud of you, Megan!

Art Teacher’s Car

What’s in your front seat?  This is very typical for me.  Art Supply and Art Teacher Transport Vehicle is at your service.  There is paint all over this car, in and out. What do you carry in your car? 

I teach classes in two locations, The Woodlands and Conroe.  In The Woodlands it’s with the HIS Classes,

And in Conroe it’s with The Training Center.

I also teach private lessons in my home and will be offering summer classes.  The summer class schedule will be coming out very soon!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Painting In Studio

Here’s a typical scene in my studio. My Yeti filled with tea, of course, and some acrylics ready to start a new painting.  As you can see, I also have my sketch pad out. I often keep a pad nearby to work out problems or record colors. Often I’ll clean off my brushes onto the pad as well, or do a mini painting similar to the canvas. Anyway, as you can see on my IPad, I’m looking at some photos of kalanchoes from our garden. Spring is inspiring!

What you see on my sketch pad is the first layer of paint.  On the canvas and on this pad I plan to do many layers with clear glazes, so that you can see through the colors. Not sure at this point, but I’m guessing there will probably be about 12 layers.  I’ll know when I get toward the end, of course. 

Saturday, April 14, 2018

My Art Studio and Paintbrushes

Today is National Honor Your Brushes Day. Or at least statewide.  Or maybe Houston-wide.  All right, all right, it’s The Johnson Household Honor Your Brushes Day!  Yippee!  Love these three; they’re Fleur brushes handmade in Italy.  Best paint-holding brushes I have ever owned.  They soak it up and hold it.  My biggest one (not pictured) even has a center reservoir. 

Paintbrushes in My Studio

You know, these are the unsung heros of my studio. I have ... I just counted... twelve containers of paintbrushes. Mostly arranged by size and purpose. Some are for students to use, and then there are some that STUDENTS MAY NEVER TOUCH OR EVEN LOOK AT.  This particular broken urn holds my faves. Most often used, they find their way here for easy access. The square one at the base is also my go-to, and it hangs on a nail on the wall directly to my right. Here I’m using one of my paintings for a backdrop.

By the way, I always use broken things to house my brushes.  Broken favorite coffee mugs, broken pitchers without handles... it’s a good place for them. :)

Friday, April 13, 2018

Collie Painting Finished

Yay!! I just finished a commission and they love it!  Here’s a little sneak peek at a small portion of the painting; it’s of three gorgeous collies.  It was such a pleasure to paint these beautiful animals - I fell in love with them as I worked.  And now, it’s varnishing time.  Looks like the weather’s going to be sunny and good for that this week. Happy! And yes, I do commissions.  Just ask.  My email is

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Paintbrushes in My Studio

I own a lot of brushes.  So why is it that I always seem to prefer these goofy self-shaped brushes to all those others sitting in my studio having mini brush conventions? I can’t answer that question.  I guess what I really should do is go into the custom brush business, huh? 

Come one, come all.  Bring me your brushes! I will customize them for you, tailoring them perfectly to your needs.  riiiight...  

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Work in Studio

Dang.  I was going to drink that. Paint water coffee.  This happens on occasion and you would think I’d learn.  ApparentlyI never do. Well, it wasn’t wasted; I just used the coffee to cover a couple pages to get a nice background neutral stain going.  Art that not only looks good, but SMELLS good!  Coffee artists arise!

Friday, April 6, 2018

Lion Postcards, Posters and Magnets

I took my Dad to the doctor expecting to go in as well.  When the doctor slammed the door in my face I paged through magazines looking for a good picture to draw. I happened upon an old, grizzled lion and had a good old time drawing him. Later I thought, “I could paint a lion...” Since that time I’ve painted lions and tigers and bears, oh my! ... and so much more. This painting has long been sold, but I have postcards, posters and magnets! Check my website.

Hitler’s Art and WW2

Who knows how the world would have changed if Hitler had gotten his first wish - to be an artist.  Denied entrance to art school he was forced to change direction. They maintained his work was not original, his people needed work, and his work was inconsistent (some good, some not so good, as the dog sketch example I have here.) They suggested he go into architecture. 

It is a most fascinating study to see how his attention was divided in the 30s and 40s. 1. Conquer the world; 2. Identify, pinpoint and specifically plunder Europe’s art; and 3. Plan the building and planning of his hometown, Linz, Austria, which would feature the Fuhrer Museum.  To the very end, he and his architects poured over the scale models of this town.  It has been said many times that the world would be a different place if he hadn’t spent so much time stealing art.

This week my students and I wrestled especially with this painting of Mary and Jesus. First, to imagine that Hitler painted it, and second to remember that in God’s eyes, all sins are equal.  That means my sins are equal to those of Hitler. Also reminds us that no man can judge another’s heart. We couldn’t, for instance, look at this painting and judge a person’s heart by the work he produced.

Joseph Goebbels - “The Fuhrer loves art because he himself is an artist.  Under his blessed hand a Renaissance has begun.”

These are a couple postcards Hitler painted when he was 19. He copied them from tourist postcards and sold his watercolors to make money to eat.  He was trying to live the artist’s life, and it didn’t turn out very well.

It’s illegal to buy and sell Hitler’s art in many European countries.  These little watercolor cards didn’t sell for much.  One of my students said she’d like to buy them to burn them.

In Studio Today, Working

A tiny bouquet of baby bay leaves to help me stay out of the garden and in my studio today. If you EVER need bay leaves, ask! My tree grows so fast that I’m always trimming branches off. Wonderful flavor, pretty in bouquets. Even looks pretty on a palette!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Pennants Painting

Since it’s spring, it’s certainly time for celebration! I popped this painting outside so you could get a sense of scale.

You know, artists usually can’t walk or drive directly from point A to point B; many times I have found myself making a u-turn to double back and sit under some nice, flapping flags.  It’s just one of those things that makes me feel happy and hopeful! It gives me a thankfulness for freedom, blue skies, and now and then a free afternoon.  I named it ‘Breezy.’ 

Just thought you needed to see a picture of my lovely shoes...

More pics are on my website, tho try as I might I haven’t been able to photograph the truly bright reds and oranges.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Big Ben Painting

Here are some super-close closeups of my Big Ben painting.  I love the perspective lines.  Originally I laid these down with the thwunk of a carpenter’s chalk line, and liked them so much that I decided to make them permanent and laid down paint on top.

This was painted for our daughter’s show ‘Reconstructing Alice,’ hence the painting’s name. She has her own dance company, Refine Arts, and writes her own shows, choreographs and directs shows for theaters, choreographs shows for schools, on and on. This and its mate were painted to grace the ticket hall so patrons could see them when they came in. For sale

Oh my goodness, I adore the colors in this painting!!!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Art Class Signups!

All in a day’s work.  And this is AFTER the cleanup! I am so thankful that part of my job is to play with kids! Our 2018/2019 class schedules are up in both locations and I added an Advanced Art Class as well.  Check out  Tc and for schedules and registration.

Trust me,it takes my entire car to accept all this stuff.  Art supplies are practically brimming out the windows sometimes.  And note my coolio gum wrapper purse that one of my students gave me.  She said it’s from Cozumel.  Some people travel on spring break.  We clean our house.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Maxfield Parrish Fan Here!

If I was forced to choose, I could pick ten of my most favorite artists of all time. Maxfield Parrish always floats to the top. 
This popular American artist painted in what I call a color-saturated on-steroids classical style, became a household name and introduced beauty upon beauty into American homes. 

He achieved great heights (pun intended) with his mountains, and used props - a mirror placed on his table upon which he placed well-chosen rocks and hit them with a strong side-light. Perfection.  

Oh,my goodness, the colors are so stunning I can hardly breathe!

Most of his scenes work was done later in his life.  He earned his (very rich) bread and butter working for magazines, illustrating calendars, illustrating books, etc., until his name became common.  As he got older, he had the luxury of being able to paint exactly what he wanted.  And boy, could he paint.

How many artists have the privilege of having a color named after them?  Look up Parrish blue.  It’s close to the colors in the first picture I posted at top.  Glorious.  These colors were achieved by his layering.  Rather than mixing them in his palette, he layered them on, adding clear layers of glaze in between.   

Pardon me, I’m going to leave now.  I’m going to wander around and find some cool rocks to light up.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

My Palette

I’m working on a commission right now in blues and golds. The colors are so gloriously beautiful together that even my palette looks good! WhenI get a little further, I’ll be adding the complimentary colors to this,and hopefully soon showing you the painting. 

Friday, March 23, 2018

Magnets, Posters and Art Cards

Brighten up your home with magnets, art cards and my mini-posters.  You don’t have to spend a mint to own cool art!  Lions and tigers and bears... oh my!

The original painting, which measured 24x30”, is sold, but was so popular I made mini-posters, magnets and postcards.  Check them and my other animals out on the website I noted above.  I also have bears, lions, wolves, owls, cats... :O ❤️ 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Bright Colors and Flowers!

I love color so much that even my color testing charts end up with art on top of them.  Actually, I think they make a good base for art, and would love to have a dress that looks like this.  What do you think?

Here’s a nice closeup of the cool color area; ooohhh... makes me feel peaceful.

I like this little hotspot too.  Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘hot spot,’ huh? Hmmm... maybe that’s what I should name this little piece.  Done!  Hot Spot!  Yep.  That’s how an artist’s mind works!

(If you have any hot spots, I can paint them for you.  Just ask!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Art in the Mail

More sales are going out the door today.  Pretty sure you wish you were getting cool mail, too!  It’s possible.  Check out my website for everything from original paintings to posters, magnets and stickers.  You’ll be glad you did! is the place.  Pretty soon you’ll be getting cool stuff in your mailbox as well!

Owl Stickers!

You should know I have a shop.  Here I’m showing my fun owl stickers. LOVE!  My owl painting has been so popular I finally made stickers for the masses. Find them on my site, All kinds of fun stuff there, from paintings to posters, magnets and stickers!

My owl’s name? Horatio, of course!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Tiny Art

Finally! And once again, it’s... bum de da bum... Teeny Tiny Art Time! Hooray! This little baby reflects just how much work it takes to 1-grow things, and 2- make art. Oh the things we create when the wheels in our little heads spin. is my website if you’d like to check out my other work.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Portrait of a Son

Ah! Haha! Our oldest son has a great red beard of which he is deservedly proud. I included maps in the collage because he travels a lot and a crossword puzzle which my dad worked. He aced those puzzles until he died at 96. Seemed fitting to honor that creative, intelligent and ever curious heritage of ours. I love that I captured his wry sense of humor and beard-pride. 

Yes, I do commissions large and small.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Mixed Media Flowers, Sketchbook

Sketchbook moments. My sketchbooks are my idea and recipe books which I refer back to all the time. Here, experimenting with some neutrals using Pitt pens, QOR watercolors and those awesome Molotow chrome markers. The neutrals make those little bright spots all the more sweet. Like coffee and chocolate. Uh... hold on, I hear the coffee and chocolate call....

Anyway, I tossed some salt in as well to add texture and interest. I like it!

Friday, March 9, 2018

Mixed Media Art

I’m leading my students through mixed media and we are layering it on. First, a quick sketch, then words, watercolor, gesso, textures, more color, gel medium and those awesome Molotow chrome markers. A tribute to my personal favorite, the buckeye butterfly. I love the way those textures separate the mixed paint pigments.

The blue pigment is sedimentary. It separates out on top of gesso. ❤️ 

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Artistic Inspiration

A couple times a year I enjoy spending a REALLY long time at a nice nursery, this one, Arbor Gate. Walking around, sketching, petting cats, smelling roses and taking pictures. It’s like a little personal mini-vacation. One of my simple ways of staying inspired. Do you give yourself a little mini-getaway now and then?