April 10, 2017
I had a wonderful opportunity to create a commissioned painting last month of one of my all time favourite flowers, a peony. It was so much fun diving into this very complicated flower, but I must admit, I was a bit worried at the beginning. I mean, it's a peony! For all of you gardeners out there, you know how many petals are on just one bloom. But I went for it (had to!) and I was surprised how easy it all came together.
Every painting is a journey, and this one was no exception. Because it was so complex, I had to approach it differently, which was a great learning experience and one I think will forever change how I approach a blank canvas. I had to think of it more like a puzzle, with all the small parts adding up to the greater whole, instead of working on it all at once, building up layers gradually over the entire canvas.
I really love how this one turned out, and plan on doing more flowers with just as much detail and movement.
December 09, 2016
Greeting cards! Yay!
I've finally finished my greeting cards and I'm really pleased with how they've turned out. It's been a fun project to see my artwork take on a new dimension. 8 of my paintings of homegrown flowers, food and seeds are printed on lovely 110lb linen textured card stock and come with matching linen envelopes. They can be used for a variety of occasions and are blank inside for your own personal message.
They are available in my shop as individual cards ($4 CAD) or as a set of 8 ($20).
You can also see more of what I'm up to on my Instagram and Facebook accounts.
November 30, 2016
I'm part of a show going on downtown right now and wanted to let you know about it!
It's put on by the Community Arts Council of Greater Victoria and the show is called "Little Gems, holiday art and craft fair". It's featuring small pieces made by many artists from around Victoria and I have two paintings in the show - "Green beans" and "Blue Pansy".
If you're in Victoria and shopping downtown, pop in and take a look at some art. There's such a variety of styles it makes for an interesting show. The CAC is located at 636 Fort Street, close to the Bay Centre and the show runs from now until December 18th (Tuesday-Sunday, 11 to 5).
October 31, 2016
I really loved painting this one - the bold colour, deep shadows, and repetitive scoops of petals - all of it was lovely to get lost in. My goal for this painting was to make another flower portrait with a single bloom being the focus. I want my paintings to be as much about people as they are about the garden and this zinnia had so much personality. As I worked my way through all those petals, she seemed to come more and more to life. I hope you like it!
The zinnia is available in my shop!
September 30, 2016
Hello! I've been working on some new small paintings and wanted to share. As the season changes, so do my subjects and my colour palette and these little gems have happened.
Each of these "portraits" has a story to it which made me want to paint them. The apple, for instance, is a heritage variety which grows in our backyard and it looked so grand, proud really, and has such character that it deserved attention. But these apples also get plagued with earwigs, and so this apple is flawed too, with an earwig hole on the side.
The pears came from a friend's backyard, also from a very old tree, and when these two pears were sitting together on my kitchen counter they looked like a funny old couple...perhaps they're shy, or just a little bored of each other, I'm not sure, but I wanted to paint them.
And the black-eyed Susan was glowing in my front yard last week. It was perfect in the soft morning sunshine, but I knew it wouldn't last long, so I wanted to capture it before the petals fell and it was gone until next year.
All of these, and a few more, are in my shop if you want to take a closer look: shop.kristenjohns.com. They're only 5x7 inches and painted on canvas board so they can easily be popped into a frame.
Enjoy the fall sunshine!
August 08, 2016
I was so pleased that one of my paintings was accepted into the Sooke Fine Arts show this summer! It was amazing to have my work juried by gallery owners, artists and art teachers and to be included in this wonderful show that celebrates art and artists from Vancouver Island.
The painting that was accepted was my large chestnut tree leaf entitled "It was time to let go". Here it is hanging at the show, all lit up and labeled. It doesn't seem that long ago that I picked up that leaf off my front yard lawn thinking it looked interesting and brought it into the house. The post I wrote about it last fall is here.
It's so encouraging (and fun!) to have my painting in a show and to share my art with more people. I hope some of you had a chance to visit the show and take in all the great art from our Island.
July 06, 2016
I picked up my pencils a few weeks ago and it seems that I can't put them down! I've been loving doing these drawings. The simplicity of pencil on paper is heavenly and I can focus on all the many tones of grey and feel quite relaxed. Perhaps it's the summer weather that also makes me want to keep things light and simple.
Being immersed in a drawing is a wonderful place to be. It's a rhythm I can get into that's like weeding the garden, or going on a long hike - I'm in the present and I really can't (or don't want to) think of anything else. Sometimes it's too nice of a place to be and little people start asking for food ;)
I'm sorry I haven't posted anything here on my blog for a few weeks, but I've been posting much more often on Instagram and Facebook. It's just so darn quick and easy! So please check out my stuff there, and if you don't have accounts yourself, just click on the icons on my side bar and you can still see my Instagram and Facebook accounts. Or you can click on these link:
I hope you're enjoying your summer gardens!
May 25, 2016
My beautiful Siberian Iris has already bloomed and faded, but I took the time to paint this watercolour while I had the chance. One of my favourite plants, this delicate bloom wins me over every year with its complicated form and tall graceful grasses. Plus, it serves as a hummingbird feeder in my yard which adds to the show!
I used watercolour for this one and it's on paper, 8x10 inches.
April 29, 2016
Dandelion - food, medicine, or weed?
I've been rethinking the humble dandelion... do you consider it food, medicine, or weed? Or is it actually a really beautiful plant that I have way too many of?
Dandelions are taking over our front yard and I've been staring at them unsure of what strategy to use this year to try and get rid of them. Then, a few days ago I was wondering through the grocery store and there they were again - bundles of dandelion leaves, $2 a bunch! Hmmmm....
While I try and figure out wether to pull these little plants out by the roots, or to harvest their greens, I thought I may as well start with a drawing of them. This is 8x10 inches, and was made with watercolour paints and coloured pencils on paper. It is available in my shop!
April 22, 2016
The pansy breathed in Spring
I've just finished this painting of a blue pansy and wanted to share it with you all! It's made with acrylic paint and it's on a wood cradled panel, 16x16 inches.
Oh pansies... you know I love-hate them, but they intrigue me. I love them because of their beautiful colours and their soft fluttery petals. I hate them because, well, the petals are so delicate that they don't hold up in the garden - they get crushed, eaten, and bashed into the soil and always look disappointing. So for this painting, my challenge was to see if I could capture the best of the pansy - could I make it bold and delicate, strong yet vulnerable? I hope you like how it turned out!
To make this painting, I watered down my acrylic paints to make them act like watercolours and did many layers of blues and purples, trying not to loose the lightness of the delicate petals. It was a beautiful mess of blues to wade through for a couple of weeks.
I hope you like it! It's available in my shop ($450 USD) if anyone is interested in adopting it into their home :)