Call it carpe diem artistry.
Monika Johnson’s en plein air landscapes require the Incline Village artist to capture the moment quickly. Whether painting outdoors in Burgundy, France; Lake Tahoe, Virginia City or Montana, she enjoys capturing the beauty of these areas with bold color and texture.
Johnson’s artwork opens the new season at Western Nevada College’s Main Gallery in Carson City. Her oil paintings are on display through Wednesday, Sept. 3. A reception is scheduled from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 28. The public is welcome to attend; refreshments will be served.
“Being a plein air painter, I paint outside in the natural environment and that encourages me to capture the moment quickly,” she said. “The light changes, the shadows move, the temperature changes, or the wind comes up. If I try to go back another day to the same spot, it’s just never the same.”
“Monika will be exhibiting oil paintings of landscapes executed on-site,” said WNC art professor and gallery director Gil Martin. “Direct relationship with the motif is a critical aspect of Ms. Johnson’s work. How else to perceive and respond to the ever-changing and infinite subtly of nature?”
Johnson blends her artist’s eye with a 25-year career as a hairstylist and colorist. She has been able to transition to another canvas to develop her artistry. Much of her inspiration today comes from the beauty around her at Lake Tahoe. “The mountains and great outdoors around my Lake Tahoe home provide me with endless creative vision, and I love the fact that no two days — in fact, no two hours or minutes — are ever the same,” she said. “Light glows and fades, shadows weave in and out, the weather does its mischievous dance, and so I am challenged to work quickly to capture the moment, knowing I’ll never have the same opportunity again.”
The graduate of Suffolk University in Boston began her art career by painting still lifes in acrylic, then transitioned to figures before gravitating to en plein air.
To develop her skills, Johnson has completed art workshops with Gregory Kondos at Sierra Nevada College, Kit Night at the Sacramento Fire Arts Center and Wanda Mumm in Glacier National Park; studied with Antonin Passemard in France; and learned from Andy Kaff, Leslie Saeta and Jean LeGassick.
Her artwork has been displayed with the M Studio, the Markleeville Library, Wilbur D. May Museum, North Tahoe Arts, Liberty Fine Arts, Reno Little Theater and Saint Mary’s Art Center.