Watch a video of Douglas Johnson painting musicians Katie Procell & Valerie Hsu while watching them perform in a live-streamed concert on 6.20.20
Watercolor 18"w x 24"h
as it resides in a private collection
Watch a video of Douglas Johnson painting a still-life with live piano accompaniment, a contribution to Apartscape 2020: July 17-20, 2020
"There's nothing really linear about paint - there's nothing really linear about what we see: we see enmeshed pieces of color interacting in certain ways."
"People have a glow about them, especially around the lips, the eyes, the ears... there's a luminosity there..."
"It was my work in theater that reconnected me with the reason I loved painting in the first place. I'd forgotten. I've always loved transporting people, touching their imaginations. Telling a story, or showing them a character or place to see their own story in a new way. Light, color, the figure in motion... it's all so beautiful."
"We forget how closely our lives, physically and spiritually, are linked with animals. From our myths to the milk we drink, we are so dependent on them. Some relationships are clearer: the bees pollinating our crops. Looking into the science of it, there is so much we don't know, but we use. We could never make milk or honey in a lab, we need organic machinery to make such complex things.
A man milks the venom out of a rattlesnake by forcing its fangs over the rim of a beaker. The poison drips down the inside of the glass. We are told this is make anti-venom. What we're usually not told is that the poison is then diluted and injected into horses. The doses are increased slowly over time as the horses' natural antivenom becomes more concentrated. The blood is drawn, the antidote is separated from it for us to use. That is where the painting Communion comes from."
"When my partner is driving us on one of our many road trips, I will set up an assortment of paints, inks, and markers to quickly capture the landscape as it sails by. I'll take a mental snapshot of the view, the light, and mood, and then translate it to the paper in staccato strokes."
"I think about watercolor like playing chess - you can't take a move back once you've made it. That intimidates some people, but I actually appreciate that about watercolor, because all the light I'm going to get is already there in the paper."
"The painter is just a chef who works with color... I love to cook, and a big part of being an artist is not being afraid of making a mess first and then bringing it together."
Douglas Johnson is a fine artist who has made Baltimore his home since 1987 when he began his studies at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). Johnson lives to create with color. His work continues to explore new possibilities of water-based media: primarily watercolor, gouache and ink.
Figures that have a living presence, landscapes that stretch out for miles, expressed in paintings made with a spare economy of swift marks. It is this gymnastic precision in Johnson's brushwork and unbridled use of saturated color that make his paintings so recognizable.
In addition to his accomplishments as a painter, he has been an active member of the theatre community as a writer, director, and producer of set designs for Annex Theater, Yellow Sign Theatre, Frith and Inle, Everyman Theater, Single Carrot Theatre and the Baltimore Rock Opera Society. Johnson's experience in preservation includes work on the restoration of the Brumidi Corridors of the United States Capitol and Clifton Mansion, former summer residence of Johns Hopkins.
American Artist Magazine has praised Johnson’s “provocative approach to watercolor, one that relies on shockingly vibrant colors [and] flowing strokes of transparent paint,” describing him as a “serious and well-informed” artist.