From grade school to high school, art became very serious and time consuming. If I wasn’t on the lacrosse field, I was painting in the studio. If I was on the lacrosse field, my stick was my weapon but off the field and in life, my pencils and brushes were my weapons. The canvas being my opponent. Always challenging me to come up with something more creative, something different. A way to grab the attention of the crowd. TO WIN at all cost. And I am especially grateful to Mr. Janishefski at CHC in Towson, Maryland for his patience and his knowledge. From Basic drawing, advanced drawing, basic figure drawing, advanced figure drawing, the human figure in action, pencil sketching, the art of sketching, drawing and sketching in different medias, sketching and painting outdoors, painting in different medias, beginning oil painting, advanced oils, still life painting, portrait painting, basic water color, advanced water color, art and anatomy, composition and design, sculpture, wood carving, and this was just the beginning of my basic training with Mr. J. My senior year at Calvert Hall College Prep School I received the award for the top HS artist in the country. This award is given out to 2 HS students in the advanced programs. One for painting and one for drawing.
My evaluation was based on my drawing portfolio, and 3 major categories, (1) Quality, the development in Advanced of excellence in art, (2) Concentration, a personal commitment to a particular mode of working and thinking, (3) Breadth, a variety of experiences in the formal, technical, and expressive means available to an artist.
Painting to me is growth. Almost problem solving. Developing my skills, talents passion for my own sanity. Moving forward and experimenting. Almost solving problems.
My style has changed periodically. A mature growth I guess? But not by far a final end. There are many painters who you can recognize right away. I’m not sure that can be me. I look back and see so many different styles and stages in my life. I don’t want to make a stroke and say “That’s not me, that’s not my style”. I don’t want to be stuck in that glass box, that no one can see. But it is there. And so many artists are stuck in it. Like the guys who wears the same shirt everyday, or has had the same haircut his whole life. I would call it being stuck, and I like change. Change is good.
Everywhere I go I carry a journal or sketch book.
I see something I love or something that catches my eye, inspires me and I come back to it. It may not be for years but having all of my ideas in my journal, I know that I will be able to come back, maybe not in person but in my memory and in my imagination. My journal/sketchbook is what a writer would say is his or her shorthand. Quick pen or pencil sketches with notes for color.
Life and art have brought me a long way from the The Kanagawa Biennial Children's Art Exhibit. I currently live in a small beach community, Pacific Palisades, CA, with my best friend- the mother of my son, and Little Finn.
My most treasured piece was completed on June 6th of 2009. It, however, is not for sale. Finn Patrick Costello Johnson. Finn has opened my eyes to so many new things and made me see and understand things in ways I thought I already understood. Not to mention, the sunrise and I have become a lot more familiar with each other.
Little hands and little feet with little toes and the smell of baby. It truly is the ‘little’ things in life. Finn being one of them. Notice what your baby notices and your senses are heightened. I often wonder what Finn is thinking about. Why the frown? What makes him laugh? Smile? Giggle? What makes him sad and how I can make him feel better? That brings me back to the little things. The crackle of the newspaper, the sound of a spoon against a glass. Looking out the front door window, and watching the cars go by.
Between God and Man, the world is filled with so many brilliant pieces of art. Finn helps me to stop and recognize the beautiful world around me. We can learn a lot from a baby.
"I have seen that in any great undertaking it is not enough for a man to depend simply upon himself."
Lone Man, Teton Sioux