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JOHNSON, PIPPI

“The six months of stark winter in Lake of the Woods, Canada has led me to choose color as my primary theme. I see vibrant hues where others see grays and browns. Seeking always the unusual, I do not paint light falling on objects, but rather light floating and flashing…moving through the space with great energy. The color itself is really the object in the painting.

The work intends to evoke fond memories of place and feeling of great joy. Working plein air or from my own photographs, I compose paintings that are not one place, but the essence of a place. I am a perceptual artist in that I am motivated by what I see, particularly atmospheric effects, dramatic spiritual lighting, and strong color . I like to look at ideas and concepts. For that reason, I work in series for three to six months attempting to gain the essence of a subject. Exploring all areas, I design canvasses that are very big, very small, square, very long and narrow or in triptych and diptych format. After laying in some texture, I cover them in a bright yellow under painting creating a glow. The marks that follow are done with Exuberant gestures.

My work is composed of two dominant images…nature and city street life. These show the two parts of my life…resident of Lake of the Woods, Canada for six months and Naples, Florida for six months. The colors and design are the same, just the images change.

I have spent every summer of my adult life on Treaty Island, Lake of the Woods. I work in solitary outside on the deck with no ceiling and no walls. Those same natural elements are there, year after year, creaking and singing with the winds. In this setting, I am aware that we live with our feet and bodies anchored to the earth but I am always looking to the sky and wondering about what goes on in the heavens. Looking up, it seems that the tall trees stretch up forming a bridge pulling my thoughts upward. These thoughts fill the space creating little dramas and poems in all colors and shapes. That is the narrative I am painting in Florida and Lake of the Woods.

The canvases are painted first in a bright ground, which glows beneath the subsequent layers of complimentary colour. The complex surfaces invite repeated study.  I work very physically, either plein aire or in the studio.  The paintings are done in a variety of sizes, but I prefer very small or large.  To challenge and involve the viewer, I make many works squares, diptychs or triptych so that they can be arranged and rearranged to create new statements.

The artist came to Canada from England as a child and was raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba. After studies at the University of Manitoba and Forum Art Institute she moved to Ontario with her husband. There she raised a family and taught high school art for over thirty years influencing the lives and work of many young people. She continued to study gaining a Masters in Art Education from the California College of Arts and Crafts in Berkeley California in 1983. She has continued to study in Master’s classes with Skip Lawrence, Robert Genn, and Don Getz, Mike Svob, Geni Kell and Joanne Lizio.”

JOHNSON Collection

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