A Little More
After many years working in the corporate world (IBM)-and spending more time in front of a screen than really doing what I loved I retired. Now I am under the sky, in my studio and living my passion and I'm fulfilling a life-long dream. I am a full-time artist. Now I am still dreaming but also creating.
WHAT DO I DO?
Cheryl Johnson is an abstract expressionist painter. Her paintings are expansive, preferring to paint large. She is in love with color and line. She is known for the compositional rhythms, bold coloration, and sweeping gestural brushstrokes.
Throughout her life, she has never ceased to deepen and refine her relationship to and facility with the various mediums she explores. Her oeuvre can be broken down into a multitude of periods; shifts in her work typically coincide with a shift in her surrounding landscape, personal relationships, or some major life event.
"I am able to say things with color, texture, and shapes that I couldn't say any other way - things I have no words for."
She also is comfortable with realism and paints the beauty of people but explores the emotion of abstract. Landscape and seascape influence her subject matter. Her primary medium is oil paint on canvas. She paints on paper, linen and on unprimed canvas or white ground with gestural, autonomous brushwork. Her paintings are highly expressive and emotional.
"It isn’t just all about space and colour, it is the edges, where paint meets. Do I bring it up close and stop or push it over the edge of the next colour?"
Signature calligraphic marks and intimate areas of detail are extraordinary: the paint is pushed and moved across the surface with grace and beauty.
Cheryl Lynn Johnson (born February 12, 1947) is a female American Abstract Expressionist Artist. She was born in Kellogg, Idaho. In her early years, she lived in the Rocky Mountains on the border of Idaho and Canada surrounded by immense beauty. Nature was her playground and inspired her to create art from a very young age.
She is of Finnish, Swedish, and Scotch-Irish descent and in her early artistic career painted both under her familiar and family names: Cheri' and Cherah Boryl Jaurvaii. Cheryl graduated with a BA from Oral Roberts University, MFA from Oklahoma State University, and an MA from the University of Tulsa. She began painting professionally in 1969 and has had numerous shows throughout her career. She studied and worked in her early career as a Teacher, Video Producer, and Director. Skilled as a videographer, commercial art and designer she moved to North Carolina in the early 1980s. She has continued to paint throughout her varied career while working in the corporate world and retired from IBM to paint full time in 2010.
Cheryl is a contemporary American artist who creates rich and profoundly originalpaintings, drawings, photographs and sculptures which are alluring, ‘avant garde’,engaging and beautiful.
Cheryl's Portfolio houses a rich variety of quality fine art. This includes original contemporary paintings such as landscapes, seascapes, abstracts, portraits, figurative studies and still life. These are done in oil, acrylic, pastel, watercolor or mixed media. The multi-modal and varied media collection also features examples of photography and sculpture.
TECHNIQUE AND STYLE
Her technique is direct. Cheryl is a “painter’s painter” who embraces a style that is uniquely her own. Inspiring! Her works are elegantly composed and delicately balanced. Her work has a mesmerizing quality. Her paintings hover on the borderline between realism and abstraction without ever settling firmly in either camp.
Her style displays the influence of a variety of painters, from Francisco de Goya, Willem de Kooning, Francis Bacon and Joan Mitchell, to Old Masters like Ruben.
Cheryl's abstract paintings are emotional on many levels and not only evoke impressions of people and places inspired by her travels, but also have a sculptural and two-dimensional feeling as she enjoys working with texture. Her painting is characterized by energetic drawing and dramatic contrasts of light and dark.
She passionately creates richly layered canvases filled with calligraphic marks and animated by an unequaled material quality of color. Cheryl’s technique of building layers or transparent washes allows the influx of emotion and the history of ideas to overtly inform her final choice of imagery. Temporality, choice, and an insistent dialogue between reason and emotion are frequent themes in her work, along with a consistent reference to land and sea with a varied use of imagery—often involving a juxtaposition of figurative studies and ethereally imagined forms. Cheryl loves light—and an abandoned visceral use of color.
Cheryl likes texture and creates her art using mixed media of oil and acrylics combined with plaster, marble dust, plaster, and sand. She paints on varied surfaces: wood, metal panels or canvas. Her use of pigment mixed with plaster, mica or steel dust add a mineral aspect to the painting, which combined with her vibrant palette, gives an overflowing fluidity to her work. She has developed a technique which involves laying successive layers of tinted glaze over high contrast monochrome under painting combined with impasto areas.
“My work is influenced by the material itself, its history and the intimacy of its interaction with the brush, my hand, and touch. This is why my surfaces reveal the process, and the process becomes the surface. Working in mixed media: graphite, oil, acrylic, and collage, allows me to layer and rework textured surfaces - with each painting resulting in a delightful discovery of things explored in the heart, perhaps unseen, but now visited for a while.”
As well as doing studio work, Cheryl also enjoys working on location with oils, pastels or watercolors'. This occasional change to "plein air" painting allows for a more spontaneous approach to making art and is a refreshing release from the more controlled studio environment or deliberate works. Cheryl's early work was very realistic and she has been commissioned to do many portraits.
"I enjoyed painting people and figures, however now I am drawn more to the emotion and do not find the rigidity of exact likeness to be my current preference. My goal as an artist is to create powerful yet sensitive images that invite the viewer to experience an emotion of something new... yet familiar.
Moving from people to places to feelings; Cheryl became interested in the space surrounding the figure and moved aggressively to abstract seascapes and landscapes.
“I primarily now, choose to create abstract non-objective paintings because I find the creative process alluring, addictive and satisfying. I begin with a single mark or line on a blank surface. Next, I create an area of color that provides a starting point for an intuitive exploration of the visual language found in abstraction”
"My goal as an artist is to create powerful yet sensitive images that invite the viewer to experience an emotion of something new... yet familiar. Painting, to me, is a dance of the brush. With each mark and stroke, it is like music notes on my canvas. “
Cheryl's drive is to pull back the color and noise of life, making quiet the clanging and clutter and many bombarding images and clear the tangles of overlapping branches and discordant feelings to reveal a moment of space that creates a world of color and harmony. Her works are evident of her struggle to find that inner place of peace we all search for.
“I hopefully create paintings that will move and inspire. I believe paintings evolve into objects of desire and there is a magical moment you fall in love with them.
It is your emotion, taste and the magic of creation, beauty of materials and the evolving process that create a seductive atmosphere, reflecting your individual personality.
Cheryl paints with passion and her bright colours often collide in solid strokes of directional purpose. Dark hues may create subdued forms or figures and perhaps our visceral response is to want to look behind the color and shapes and line and find the emotional spectacle that wants to come out. Cheryl often turns the flashlight on memory and forgotten places and faces will emerge.
LANDSCAPES & SEASCAPES
Cheryl’s large paintings are heavily influenced by her past and present and her surroundings. Themes are sky and horizons where the verdant mountains and rolling seas collide. She often creates views reminiscent of her home nestled in the vast valleys and hills of Kauai.
“I find inspiration wherever my travels take me. In both my large oils on canvas and my works on paper, I'm interested in the evocative power of inferred space and energy beyond the edges of the canvas. Glazes of translucent color and expressive drawing speak of nature without evoking landscape.
Cheryl's works are a response to how she has been moved by the spirituality, immensity, and mystery of people, places and the land and sea. Although her recent works do not always represent a particular motif or place, she strives for the essence of the place and all that a 'landscape or seascape' can imply, not just the natural physical beauty of the landscape.
Cheryl bright colours often collide in solid strokes of directional purpose. Dark hues may create form or figure and perhaps our visceral response is to want to look behind the color and shapes and line and find the emotional spectacle that wants to come out. Cheryl often turns the flashlight on memory and forgotten places and faces will emerge.
Cheryl loves shooting images and people randomly as she travels and uses photographs taken during her travels as 'inspiration or support material' for her paintings. Cheryl also enjoys the beauty in detail and explores macro or close-up photography.
“As a photographer I am searching for a moment's pleasure from around the world, capturing faces, and intimate moments, places to remember. I use my photographs as materials for collage or they influence subject matter for my paintings. I create a visual language of form, colour, and line to create compositions that have often a degree of independence from visual references to actual persons, places or things. My goal as a photographer is to create powerful yet sensitive images that invite the viewer to experience an emotion of something new... yet familiar.”
Johnson’s creativity is driven by a general curiosity of life and its meaning, she references her photography as a medium for her art and explores its boundaries in a quest for beauty and expression that goes beyond realism but gets perhaps a little closer to truth.
Cheryl is the daughter of a carpenter and loves to use tools and enjoys the aspect of the craft. Cheryl has dabbled in many sculptural media and her current focus is on found materials and combines along with clay and wood carving. From her early childhood of building small rock dams across the Moyle River to erecting Cairns in her yard Cheryl is fascinated by balancing stone and rock.
“I love stacking rocks and creating Cairns. Cairns are often erected as landmarks and in ancient times, they were erected as sepulchral monuments or used for practical and astronomical uses, to me they are just beautiful arrangements of rock and stone balancing and connecting in space. They do mark however the resting places of my dear sweet animals and pets.
I am thankful for my talent and am inspired daily by God's creatures and creations. I believe art has the ability to share emotions and improve the life of both the artist and the viewer. I aspire to share joy, beauty, and a moment's pleasure.
I create a visual language of form, colour, and line to create pieces that have often a degree of independence from visual references to actual persons, places or things."
Cheryl Johnson strives to create paintings filled with energy and movement while allowing the space to have importance. Her sculpture works are primarily in clay, wood, and mixed media combines. Her photography is continuing to evolve.
She creates rich and profoundly original paintings, drawings, sculptures , and photographs that are alluring, spontaneous, and beautiful. Colors blend, shapes and line appear to morph in and out of focus, colors shift like changing season's, and subtle imagery whispers beneath the surface. Her art projects an air of optimism, lightness and joy and is infused with both a sense of uniqueness and universality. The emphasis of her work is on strong design, simple shapes, enlivened by textured surfaces. Her use of line and space and contrasting bright and bold colors that lie adjacent to muted and sensitive color has enabled Cheryl to create well balanced visually stimulating art that encourages the viewer to take a second glance and then look for answers within themselves.
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Web Site: cheryljohnson.co