M. Jane Johnson is our September Featured Artist for Building 10! Johnson’s solo exhibit, “A Mix of This and That,” runs September 10, 2020 through October 8, 2020 in Building W-10. Learn more about her and her work below.
My work is a combination of acrylic, collage, oil pastel, gels, and textural mediums. I start with thin veils of acrylic paint and then add collage and draw into the painting to find space and create interest. I build and build layers as I paint and allow the process to guide my painting.
During the process, I will stop and take photos to tell me where to work and what needs attention. I also use the photo to tell me what is in the painting. Is the piece an abstract, figurative, or floral? As I move towards the completion, I start to hone down the creative chaos and fine-tune what I image I
see. I carve out areas and add details to enhance the final project.
I love how Sargeant has a magical stroke of color that makes you step in and view how he used that beautiful choice of color and line. I want my viewers to move closer to the work to see what I have done and what lies beneath the textural surface. My goal is the pull the viewer in then have them move back and absorb the full impact of the painting. No matter what I work on, I think of each piece as a push and pull.
M. Jane Johnson started painting at a very young age. After showing skill in drawing her mother signed her up for semi-private painting classes where she learned to paint still life paintings in oil at the age of seven. Her work won various children’s art awards in shows around her hometown of Jacksonville, FL. Johnson went on to receive her BFA with a focus in painting and drawing from Stratford College, Danville, VA. While studying art at Stratford, she was able to go to Italy twice where she practiced her architectural rendering style of drawing.
Once she graduated from college, Johnson went on to receive a teaching certificate to teach high school art and became a certified architectural draftsperson. She worked for several years as a draftsperson with several engineering firms where she specialized in HVAC design. Johnson went on to work for Dominion Power as a Service Rep, where she designed electrical facility installations. After working in drafting, Johnson went on to be in outside sales where she worked for several companies selling document and records management services.
While Johnson was working, she continued to paint and draw and was able to illustrate a cookbook, Virginia Seasons for the Junior League of Richmond, VA. She also was responsible for the drawings in a workbook for long term patients at Children’s National Medical Center, Washington, DC. Her work was in several group shows at the Art League, Alexandria, VA. During one of these shows, the Art Director from Children’s National Medical Center saw her paintings and commissioned her to paint twelve paintings for the new heart clinic at the hospital. After receiving this commission, Johnson decided to commit to becoming a full-time artist.
Johnson has had a studio at the Workhouse Arts Center since 2013, where she creates her mixed media paintings in building 10. Her work has been in group shows, and solo shows at the Arts Council of Fairfax, Arts Club of Washington, Grand Opera House in Wilmington, DE, the Art League Gallery, and Artists & Makers. Publications that featured Johnson’s work include the Washington Post and Elan Magazine.