Thursday, January 29, 2015

Professional Profile Picture

Hello, Wonderful People.
My name is Cindy Johnson.  This is a picture of me.  It's the one I use on all my professional advertising, fliers, brochures, etc.  It's a telling portrait, and I've had to fight program coordinators on a number of occasions to let me use it.  "Your hand is in the picture!"  "It's unorthodox!"

But it tells a lot about my character, so this is the one I use.

It happened by accident.

I was playing in an orchestra and we were preparing for a show.  Not positive, but I think it was Cinderella.  (Oh, that was a FUN show!)

The orchestra pit was set up at the foot of the stage, with our conductor front and center.  We were split, half of us facing him from one side, and half from the other, which means we could all see the stage with at least one eye.

Not that I was ever a trickster or anything, but I persuaded the entire orchestra to Sharpie mustaches on their fingers.  At given points during that particular show, which means when individual musicians had rests and didn't have to play) we would 'mustache' the actors, trying to get them to break character, which of course they never did.  Anyway, we had our fun and after the show enjoyed some, let's say enthusiastic conversations with the actors. :)

So, the finger mustache signifies fun.  I like it.  And if I ever greet you like this, I'm just inviting you to play.

Friday, January 23, 2015

My Book Published!

Yay!!!!!!!  Today is the day!  Today is the day that I got to hold the first copy of our book, Ribbons of Rainbows!  It's a good day!  My friend, Kimberly Vogel wrote it and I illustrated it.  Here's a picture of the front cover:

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Carson and Sally, Interpretive Dance

This is a really beautiful dance.  It is the dance representing two siblings, one of whom took his own life.  Poignant and beautiful.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Charlie Hebdo - We are With You!

To our French friends - we are with you.  To our fellow lovers of freedom worldwide - we are with you.  Charlie Hebdo - we are with you.  To the power of art - we will never stop!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Louvre and its Pyramid

Once again the Louvre and its pyramid are in the news; this time because they're going to be renovating the pyramid for quite a number of months.

I found this a particularly beautiful shot, and fondly remember having lunch up on the maybe third floor balcony in the background on a fine day such as the one in this picture.  I distinctly remember sitting on the - wait - I don't think it was a balcony - it was a nice patio, and there was a ledge about three feet wide.  I sat on the ledge and happily munched my lunch, soaking up some nice rays and clearing my head, when one of the waiters ran up and chased me and other innocent diners off, shooing us over to some tables.  Oh, well, it was nice while it lasted.

And as far as the Pyramid pools - ahh, yes... perfect for soaking aching feet after a day's perseverance through THAT huge museum!

Ready to go back!

Beginnings and Middlings of a Painting, Part Seven

All right.  Now I'm layering the blacks over the lower portion of the painting.  I'm laying it on fairly thinly so that in places you can see the texture of the shoe prints through the paint.  Some places I made thicker and darker, giving it a texture on its own.  The contrasts of the gold and black make the whole thing dynamic.  I wanted it dark and dirty down at the bottom as a symbol of sin, which Christ is pulling him from.  We do get ourselves into messes, don't we?
I put a portion of a verse at the bottom:
"He heals the broken hearted
and binds up their wounds."
Psalm 147:3

Many times there is only one way out, and that is with Christ's help.  We spend a lot of time in our lives trying to do it on our own.

When the black paint was wet, I scrawled that into the paint, so that the background colors, deep, dirty colors, would show through as the words.

Now we're getting somewhere!  Next up I'll be working on the golds.  The base layer of gold is ready for some additional work.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Robin Williams and my Suicide Painting

This morning I was reading about Robin Williams.  Again.  I found a photo of him that really struck me.  The facial expression was so similar to the suicide painting I did that it took me aback.  Here's the photo of Robin:
And below you'll see mine.

Makes me realize that we need to make a study of our friends' faces.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Beginnings and Middlings of a Painting, Part Six or Seven

 All right.  Now it's time to have the blood dripping down.  As you can see from my board, I tried any number of mixtures of blood, looking for the right color and consistency.  I wanted it to flow and not coagulate, as well as be the nice rich dark color as opposed to the fake, ketchupy color. 

Ketchupy.  It's a good word, isn't it?

My intent is to have the glorious, forgiving gold dripping down the painting and onto the arm.

Stay tuned!

Beginnings of a Painting, Part Five

 I guess I should call this 'Middlings of a Painting,' because it's no longer the beginning, huh?  About mid-way now.

Okay, you can see I dealt with the slash marks.  It doesn't come across very clearly (because I am the photographer,) but because I initially laid down the slash marks with thick paint before fleshing it out, there is a texture there as well as the colors.

I've also evened out the tones of all three arms, bringing them closer together.
The gold is coming down from above, with big brushwork to open it up and keep it loose.

Next time I'll be working on the blood dripping from the cutter's arm. 

Beginnings of a Painting, Part Four

Okay, at this point, I've fleshed out the sinner's arm.  Note that the slash marks on the arm are completely covered. 

Now, to let it dry, and then I'll even out the flesh tones all around, and begin working on the cuts.  Stay tuned...

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Beginnings of a Painting, Part 3

And now,the continuing saga of 'Beginnings of a Painting!'

 All right, previously we left the studio with everything set up, and the painting at the stage of only having the cartoon drawn out.

Now it's time to start fleshing out those arms.  And so... that's exactly what I'm doing.  Trying to keep it fairly loose so a little of the background shows through.  I'm not one that has the patience for highly polished exactitude.

One arm almost down!

Okay, two arms almost down!  I knew I had to do these in one sitting to make sure the paints didn't dry out on me.  I don't relish the thought of remixing exact colors like this as I think I've got seven colors mixed for this skin tone.

All right, two arms now pretty much done.  I'll have to finesse them after the third arm is finished, but that will have to be done later, in one sitting as well.

Arm number three will have to wait now, until tomorrow.  I am tired!

By the way, you would note that my 'easel' is not your ordinary easel, but a Rubbermaid box and a pile of books.  I am pleased to announce that a good friend is selling me a beautiful easel that he DESIGNED and MADE himself.  Looking forward to getting that Saturday!  It will be nice to be able to work without having the painting precariously balanced and sometimes falling over!

Beginnings of a Painting, Part 2

 Okay, here is the painting in its next stage.  I should begin by saying that one of my private art students was a cutter, and is healing now.  It's a tough road, and our lessons and times together have been good art therapy for her, I pray.

Here are the arms, outlines now painted.  I laid down thick black paint for the cut marks on the arm.  These will be painted over with skin tones, but I wanted the texture of the cuts to already be present.

Next step was to mix the paint.  Remember, acrylics dry very quickly, so you have to have all the paints ready immediately.

I mix them in cheap containers, spray them with water and cover them tightly.  I also mix them with a product that slows drying time.

 Set up takes a lot of time...

 Yep.  A lot of time, just in preparation.

In all honesty, we have dealt with a lot of issues in 2014.  My daughter's boyfriend took his life.  A good friend of mine took his life.  One of my students was committed for suicidal ideations and cutting, and one of my former students was commited for suicidal ideations and depression. 

This is real, people.  Depression is real.  Do not EVER tell people they can just get over it, or believe that they are just looking for attention if they talk suicide.  There are many ways to get and give help.  The greatest help, I believe, is Christ Jesus.  He is ready.  There.  Waiting to help you.  All he is waiting for is a call from you.
This shows how I've got it set up in my studio.  The photo on the right was my first work - photographing my idea!  I had my son, Grant, and one of his friends pose for me in a hundred ways.  Micah stood up on a chair, and pulled Grant up.  I kept telling them to put their muscle into it and Micah would reply, 'I'm holding his entire weight!'  Grant pulled down and Micah pulled up, because I wanted the strain and struggle to show.

Anyway, I stuck it up on one easel so I could use it for a reference.  My color charts and some cutter's arms are hung around the studio for quick reference as well.  Finding cutter's arms was the worst work ever.  I was sick to my stomach by the time I finished that part.  There has been nothing easy about this painting, and I feel like I'm going to have to cleanse myself when I finally finish.  Good thing my next commission is a tuba painting!

Stay tuned for the continuing saga of 'BEGINNINGS OF A PAINTING!'

Beginnings of a Painting

I'm going to hold your hand and lead you through the process of one of my paintings. It'll take a little while, because the painting itself has done so.

 My idea for this has sprung, to tell the truth, out of a very difficult year.  I don't know what 2015 will bring, but this painting is an outpouring as a result of things that have happened in our lives this last year.

The painting will be thus:
Two arms, reaching down from heaven, grasping and pulling up a desperate sinner's arm.  The arms pulling that sinner up are Christ's strong arms, coming down out of golden glory.  The sinner's arm is a cutter's
 arm.  That arm will be dripping blood.  There will be, I think, gold flowing down from Christ's wound to intermingle with that blood.

The top of the painting will be golden, the bottom will be very dark.

Okay, so here we go.  To prepare for the process, I did a lot of paint mixing.  Charts like these are invaluable.  They help me identify exactly what colors I want, what I need to mix, and what colors I don't want. This is a necessary
step, especially when working with acrylics.  Acrylics dry very quickly, which doesn't give you much time for mixing or a redo, so you have to be fast and sure.

First step - I did my background in blacks and reds.  Almost all of this will be covered up, but it will very subtly give that feeling that I want to come through.

Second step, which was actually part of the first, was to add the footprints.  I didn't really plan to do this, but my feet were present at the time, and they wanted to, so I agreed.  The carpet didn't get to answer to my decision, either, and now bears the prints as well.  Most of these prints will be covered, but the texture will be there.  I wanted this texture as this person feels trampled.

The third step was to lay in the arms and hands.  This is charcoal, so it's easily erased with the smudge of a hand.  Once I got the charcoal right, I lightly painted it with watered down black acrylic so it wouldn't rub off.  The canvas is about four feet tall.

Stay tuned for the next installment of 'Beginnings of a Painting' with Cindy Johnson!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Tribute to Tony Motto, Woodlands Online Person of the Year

Just found out this morning that Tony received the Woodlands Online's Person of the Year.  Here is my own tribute:

Tony, we miss you. You were many things to many people. To me, you were a friend. Fun, ready with a laugh, planning and pushing, standing up for what you believed in, busy, and always stubbornly forwarding your causes. I always wondered that you could do so much! Some of my paintings are still hanging in a show you curated. The art trading card nights you planned were always fun and we had many fruitful discussions. The Artist Expo was profitable in many ways, and I loved teaching there. I and my students loved your sculpture tours, and when I drive around The Woodlands and see the sculptures, I look at them differently. Your enthusiasm was contagious, and I could count on your sense of humor. Always one to be in the center of a group, there are now many holes in many groups where you are not. Many miss you, Tony, and so do I.