Artist Interview: Discover The Beautiful, Vivid Paintings of Oklahoma artist, Virginia Johnson


Artist, Virginia Johnson

Coffee brews on this early, before sunrise Sunday morning. As I peer outside I notice that it is damp and musta rained a little bit overnight. I love the smell of fresh rain on a warm, late summer morning.


I am up early as I am most mornings. When your an independent, full-time artist you have to tackle each day with savvy vigor and today is no different. Today I am penning a new artist interview article for my blog site www.savvypalette.com.


With fall approaching at what seems like warp-speed and of course this means the busy holiday season is just around the corner too - a good thing for most artists as the season typically brings in additional sells, but let me not get side-tracked too much as I scribe this article out. I should mention I don't personally know artist, Virginia Johnson, but I came across her work via Facebook and felt like she would be a good fit for a new featured artist interview. Her work, has a dynamic range that catches my eye.


Where are you from?


I grew up in the South of France and taught myself to paint with oil paint that had belonged to my uncle. He was a Parisian artist, who died on the frontlines in World War I.


I have been living here in Oklahoma City since 1983. I was born in Detroit, Michigan and at the age of 5 moved to France, my father's native country. At the age of 20, I married an American and moved back to the U.S. We lived in Chicago, New York City, Plattsburg, and Warrensburg, Missouri before settling in Oklahoma City.


I've never been to New York, but have always wanted to visit. I wonder if it's like what I see in the movies and television? I'm sure it's been glamourized, but I still want to visit at least once.

Did you study art formally and if so, where?


I studied one semester at the Beaux Arts of Montpellier, France. I then went on to graduate with a B.S.E. and M.S.E. in art from the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, Missouri. 


Favorite medium to work in?


By far my favorite medium is acrylic, but I enjoy other mediums, including alcohol ink and watercolor. My palette is inspired from the bright colors which surround me. From the blue Mediterranean, to the yellow broom blooming in the Spring to the dark green pine trees and beautiful sunsets. My favorite subjects are sunsets and portraits. I am inspired by the diverse and beautiful cultures that make up our country and the world.


I must say, your work is beautiful.

What does your art aim to say?


I paint to reveal colors, where some see none. My works have been in Gallery One on the Paseo for the last 10 years. Many of my works were displayed in the great city of Paris from April to May, 2019. 


It's not every day I get to discuss art with an artist that has had work displayed in Paris. That is a milestone that I hope to reach someday.

by Virginia Johnson

Does your work comment on political, or social issues?


I cherish the many cultures of our world. My political works include a child laboring in the mines of the Congo. A Mapuche woman, a Chilean indigenous group struggling to regain their lands. Many Native Americans, who I believe have been overlooked by our society. A portrait of African American women, who I believe will inspire generations to come.

What is your art dream?


I plan to convert part of my house into a gallery, so I can host small gatherings and share my work.


Very nice! I am currently thinking about putting one of those now famous "she-sheds in our back yard to be my studio. I need a place that my almost one-year-old daughter can't get into my paints. I'm sure you can imagine the debacle that would create...

What is your background in the arts?


After retiring as an educator I have dedicated my life to painting. My art has been displayed in Paseo Gallery One for the last 10 years.

Who are your 3 biggest art influences and why?


A bit of impressionism, a bit of expressionism, and a bit of Fauvism. I like the looseness of impressionism, the power and emotion of expressionism, and the colors of Fauvism.


How do you navigate the art world?


My art is displayed on my dedicated Facebook and Instagram pages. I enjoy meeting art lovers who come visit me on the Paseo at Gallery One. The pandemic has changed my life, I stay home and haven't been able to enjoy the wonderful Paseo art walks. My artwork has also been displayed in the Paseo Contemporary Art Gallery in Oklahoma City and  the gallery "La Place" in Paris. 


If there is something you could change about the art world/market - what would it be


I'd rather not wait until I'm dead for the value of my paintings to sky rocket.


How do you price your work?


I price my work by the size, the time it took me to do it and how much I love it.


Well rounded indeed. I price my pieces by size using the linear inch method. I use to use square inch, but have recently decided to use linear as I find it a better way to price with different size pieces. 

Any current art trends you are intrigued by?


I'd like to know more about abstract painting.


Yes, abstract painting is a very popular trend. I personally paint in a contemporary abstract style known as Spontaneous Realism.

What role do you believe artists have in society?


They bring joy to our world. Artists can stir emotions as they depict injustices or make us appreciate our heroes. A society without artists is like a day without sun.


Do you have a favorite famous artist? If so, why?


My favorite artist is Bert Seabourne, based in Oklahoma. With his guidance I've found my love for painting Native American culture. He is an inspiration, with his support I have further developed my skills as an artist and I will be forever thankful.


What are your thoughts on art movements?


Art movements inspire us to make a positive change. They allow us to look at the world through different lenses.


Wrapping Things Up

I want to send a special thanks out to Virginia for taking the time out of her busy schedule to answer my questions and taking part in this interview for Savvy Palette. You can view more of Virginia's work at Paseo Gallery One.


If you're an artist and interested in being interviewed and featured here on this site - please email me at info@savvypalette.com.


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www.savvypalette.com


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The Savvy Artist

Starting my artistic journey in 1997, the desire to create art that I attained soon became an unyielding obligation to myself to explore the inner mechanism of my creative consciousness.

 

From small sketches to large scale projects, my art is a highly-personal reflection of myself.

I’ve been lucky enough to have participated in many collaborative projects, as well as exhibiting in a solo capacity, which has solidified my reputation in the art world.

 

If you would like to find out more about my process, get in touch.

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