Artist Statement


Cheryl Johnson

"We push and pull apart the world, and then layer it with emotions in order to put it back together as something different, beautiful and preferably better.

I primarily choose to create abstract non-objective paintings because I find the creative process honest and satisfying. A single mark or line on a blank surface provides a starting point for an intuitive exploration of the visual language found in abstraction.

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.” - Cheryl Johnson

EMOTION Creating art is more about communicating what I’m feeling than what I’m seeing. Feeling is something more; it’s feeling your existence. It’s a still place. It’s like one word, one image - “ joy." It is a “moment’s pleasure.” I want my work to exude joy, celebration, measured clarity and a sense of self. The impetus for my work comes from the outdoors. I love forests and walking by the ocean. I have spent many wonderful days walking my dogs and gathering inspirations that will last a lifetime. I am continually enamored by the Abstract Expressionist painters and I like that association to my work. It’s not that I am painting a ‘landscape, it’s the essence of the forest I want to create. I like creating the illusion of a space one could crawl into. I spend a lot of time finding the right combinations of color and light.

PROCESS My creative process emphasizes surface, light, and dark. I strive for balance and serenity in the arrangement of color and form. My work is driven by the desire to display atmosphere and emotion of a place and time. I explore color relationships in my work and use diverse materials ranging from oil, acrylic, oil crayon, construction materials and fabric applied to canvas, linen, boards, and paper. I paint with brushes, palette knives and my hands and fingers.

STUDIO In the studio, my work practice is energetic and spontaneous. I paint both in my studio and plein air and often use my photography as a reference. I begin with an underpainting and then add marks, lines and multiple layers. I work directly into the surface with confidence and endeavor to be innovative. I represent myself as an alchemist of images and a catalyst for daydreams and desires. In both my art and photography I keep my eye trained on the lines of the face and nature, allowing for the formation of personal marks and lines within the paintings.