Friday, January 22, 2016

Questions and answers inspired by Vermont Studio Center blog

I was just looking at the blog from the Vermont Studio Center and was wondering what I would say in response to some of the questions they asked the studio participants.  So here we go

In the Studio with Jane M Johnstone

Jane M Johnstone is a visual artist working out of her home and her studio at ArtSpace Maynard.

Do you have any routines or rituals while you work?
No. I tend to work in different rhythms at different times. Nothing is a set routine or ritual. Lately, I have been enjoying the winter morning sunlight at home; sitting with a cup of coffee, the dog at my feet, and a sketchbook with pencil, pen or gouache to observe the blooming Christmas cactus on the table next to me, or the slumbering dog on the sunny rug. At the studio, I either work on a painting that is in process or start a new one depending on what calls to me when I enter the room. Sometimes I listen to music, sometimes to NPR and sometimes to silence. I also have a chair in the afternoon sun inviting me to pause, step back and observe what I am working on, sometimes saving that overreaching mark that smothers the work.

What one material/tool could you not work without?
If I had to only have one tool, it would be two, a mechanical pencil and paper.

What inspires you besides other art and artists (movies, good food, songs, books, birds, etc.)?
Nature is the biggest inspiration for me, whether it is a walk in the woods or the light on a living object in the house. I am drawn the line and energy of life .

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Do it

What are you working on now?
I am learning to paint. I have been working as a printmaker for years and am reaching out to add new media to my work.

What role does identity play in your work?
My life and my experiences definitely influence my work but my work is not about my life and my experiences. My work is about observation and medium. I am not interested in work as autobiography, rather as connection. Often when titling pieces I find out how particular experiences have influenced the aesthetic choices I have made.  When the narrative becomes title it is usually because the work has taken some experience that I have had and made it feel more universal. I choose untitled when I want the work to mean what it means to the viewer without words, allowing observation and medium rather than narrative guide the viewing experience.

What does community mean to you?

Community is amazing, which is why I maintain a studio space in a studio building. I have contact with other inspiring artists when I want and I have privacy in my studio when I want. We encourage each other, inspire each other, motivate each other, critique each other, show our works together, and gather for art movies, openings and art outings. We remind each other of the value of art-making in a society that often doesn’t prioritize the arts.

Monday, April 7, 2014

birds and nests and poems and books and prints and collages and sound and light = Call and Response,


Michele, Susan and I, assisted by our most amazing helpers Colleen, Betsy and Jack, have hung our show Call and Response - a multi-media exhibit at ArtSpace Gallery in Maynard. We have combined poems, drawings, collages, prints, paintings, artist books, sound recordings, lights, nests - both real and imagined - along with a writing desk with beckoning typewriter for your creative participation.


The idea for the show was conceived when Michele and I peeked around the partition in our studio and realized that we were simultaneously working on images emanating from a common muse, birds.  I was in the midst of a series of works called Emptying Nests and Michele was working on a series with collaged birds and painting on board.














We had both studied literature in college and  Emily Dickinson's poem Hope is the Thing with Feathers came to mind and we envisioned a show combining poetry and visual art. 
When we met Susan Richmond, reading from her book of poems called Birding in Winter, the show was hatched. We wrote a proposal to the ArtSpace Gallery and we were excited when they gave us the month of April for our exhibit. It gives us the opportunity to celebrate Poetry Month and the return of spring.
Meeting monthly for a year, we delighted in letting ideas and inspirations take flight and finalized some of these inspirations into a show we called Call and Response. Existing works were selected, new works created, and the collaboration of both literal and inspired calls and responses between the artists and their works began.
Inspired by Michele's works, I started to draw and include birds into my work. I experimented with collage and bookmaking. I thought of the bird as form as well as being. I played with brighter colors and more lyrical forms. I cut the form of birds out of brightly colored collage and combined it with one of my black and white pronto print creating the piece Spring Catalog Birds.

















I longed to learn from the complexity and richness of her work and the "twinkle in the eyes" of her birds.  I played with layering and altering the drawn images to see the lyricism of their shape not just their species.  In Spring Song Bird, I used an unfinished monotype and overlaid it with a composite image on transparent vellum. The image was a digitally altered drawing on top of a scan of another print. I applied the inspiration of collage by using mixed media layers of my own works. I have only begun to explore the many avenues that have been called forth from responding to her marvelous work.

















Inspired by Susan, I created interpretations of her words in the pieces Balance and Nest. I wanted to go beyond illustrating the poems to try and create a sense of the work. In Balance, I used visual elements of placement, transparency, color, movement and stasis. With Nest I recreated the sense of plein air discovery and investigation using multiple but slightly varied imprints of the same nest, spaced around corners and nestled in soft paper made from gathered materials. I moved from two-dimensional works to three-dimensional works and became mindful of installation and mixed media. Her magnificently evocative poems resonated with my experiences observing and creating in response to nature.


Further challenged by combining poetry and image, I started to look at the pieces I was creating as parts of a poem, set within the context of the works around it, enriched by rhythm and metaphor. In the work Dawn Chorus, the work as poem is explored in the rhythmic repetition of image size, the variation of the images of altered birds, the integration of musical metaphor and the presentation of two panels recalling a poem of two stanzas. Vellum panels mounted like door sidelights with curtains of light vibrating off cut paper surfaces invite the viewer into a multifaceted view of an audible experience.

Poems also appeal to me as marks on paper. I wanted to respond to the calligraphic nature of the written poem with line-work. I drew in graphite, pen and charcoal and wanted to transfer those calligraphic works to prints. Due to health challenges I couldn't use traditional etching or drypoint to capture the lines. I experimented with ways to transfer line that were less labor intensive than drypoint and etching and did some pronto plate and paper lithography. I also investigated digital printmaking and altering images in photoshop. In some instances, I realized that the drawings were the final product that I was looking for, but I had been so used to thinking of myself as a printmaker, I had limited myself from sharing these with others.

In honor of that first collaborative moment, when Michele and I envisioned connecting visual art and poetry, I knew I had to work with Emily's poem, Hope is the Thing with Feathers. I used monotype and a paper lithograph of a digitally altered bird drawing. The buoyant yellow color, the paint splatters inspired by Michele's papermaking combined with the visual metaphor of music and the new terrain of digital imagery is a piece I would not have made without the inspiration of this collaborative experience. The gift of the collaboration, of listening carefully to the calls of these two talented artists has expanded my own art in both topic and technique. 



Monday, October 28, 2013

Ochre Blue Gallery opening this saturday shows Jane McKinnon Johnstone monotypes alongside works by Brenda Cirioni, Caroline McCloy and Jennifer Johnston


THIS SATURDAY EVENING COME TO OCHRE BLUE!

Join us for the opening reception on Saturday November 2, 6:30-9:30 for "FOUR WAYS HOME" through November 21st at Ochre Blue Gallery, 4 Nason Street, Maynard MA

Gallery hours are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday - 12–5pm Wednesday & Saturday - 1-5pm

Here is a shot of one of my fourteen horizon pieces Jennifer Johnston has hung along with works by Brenda Cirioni, Caroline McCloy and Jennifer Johnston.

Hope to see you soon, Jane McKinnon Johnstone

Monotype demonstration for Melrose Art Association


Here is a link to video made by Marvin Mendelssohn for the Melrose Art Association of a monotype demonstration I did this spring.

Melrose Arts Presents: Art In Action With Jane McKinnon Johnstone
by Marvin Mendelsson

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Upcoming Printmaking Demonstration for Melrose Arts

I will be doing a printmaking demonstration for Melrose Arts <http://www.melrosearts.com> on Wednesday March 6 from 7-9 and have been looking through my prints for samples of different printmaking techniques.


Here is a sampler of some different printmaking marks.


From left to right; Drypoint with Chine Colle, Monotype using solvents and brushwork, Two Plate Etching with Line and Coffee Lift Aquatint, Monotype using Brayer Painting, Trace Monotype, Monotype using Stencils/Mask.

Monday, February 4, 2013

janemckinnonjohnstone.com is moving over to Word Press, leaving Dreamweaver.

I am patiently (absolutely not patiently - perhaps I should say persistently) changing over my website from Dreamweaver to a WPFolio Two website. So janemckinnonjohnstone.com is currently under construction and silly me didn't realize that when I uploaded Word Press to work on my new site it would overwrite my old site on the server. Makes sense - but leaves me with placeholders while I learn how to navigate the new program.

Too many hours have been spent on the computer and not on the press or even in the studio, but I am hoping to have a more flexible and simpler website both for viewers and for me (now know as the administrator!)

The only advantage is to my lovely companion Sophie, who now has me home opening and closing the back deck door every time she decides to check out the squirrels.

Well looks like she is pretty comfortable, but I think it's time for me to check out the squirrels!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A view of the Seascape Prints at the Ochre Blue Gallery

Here is a view of the Seascape prints at the Ochre Blue Gallery before I took the show down last Thursday.  It was a great show put together by gallery owner Jennifer Johnston. Thank you to all who visited the show. For those who didn't get a chance to get to Maynard, I have the prints in my studio if you want to visit and take a trip to another time of year.