November 14, 2009

"Warm Glow"

"Warm Glow", 18" x 24", oil on linen, Lydia Johnston

Bask in the warm glow of light spreading over the fields and glinting on the treetops towards the end of the day. On this rainy Saturday, I look at this painting and I can feel the sunshine.

October 30, 2009

Color in the Air

"Sky Sonata VII", 16" x 16", oil on linen, Lydia Johnston

Not the most spectacular fall colors this year, but I always love the change. It's a magical time when the air is infused with color. I soak it up before the drabness of winter sets in.

16" x 16", oil on linen

October 01, 2009

Sky Sonatas

"Sky Sonata X", 10" x 10", oil on linen, Lydia Johnston

Three new Sky Sonatas. I continue to find satisfaction painting these small pieces. I usually begin them late in the day. I hate to waste paint, and there are always small amounts of leftover mixes after finishing up a large painting.

"Sky Sonata VIII", 10" x 10", oil on linen

So I grab a 10" x 10" piece of linen, and start to play, play with different color combinations, play with different design elements. There is a freedom and joy working on these small paintings.

"Sky Sonata IX", 10" x 10", oil on linen

September 14, 2009

Sky Paintings Delivered to AZ Fine Art

I just delivered seven of my new series of sky paintings to AZ Fine Arts, located in Wellesley Hills, MA, about a half hour west of Boston.

"Through the Dunes", 24" x 24", oil on linen, Lydia Johnston

Two are mid-sized paintings,

"Evening Light", 18" x 24", oil on linen

and five are small ones.

"Big Sky I", 11" x 8", oil on linen

Two vertical pieces,

"Big Sky II", 12" x 9", oil on linen

and three in a square format from my new "Sky Sonata" series.

"Sky Sonata I", 10" x 10", oil on linen

"Sky Sonata IV", 10" x 10", oil on linen

"Sky Sonata V", 10' x 10", oil on linen

August 16, 2009

How Long Does it Takes

As an artist, I am often asked how long it takes to paint a piece. I don’t think people realize how hard this is to answer. This question implies that the more time put in equals greater value, something I don’t believe. The hours actually applying paint is only a small part of what it takes to complete a painting. Some artists will answer “a lifetime” when asked.

"Evening Light", 18" x 24", oil on linen, Lydia Johnston

Creativity is a process that needs space and time. All of our life experiences do filter into the process. A lot of the process is internal, and that doesn’t take place in the studio while painting. I often find the night a very productive time for processing ideas, as well as when I am out being physically active. So a lot of time goes into a painting that isn’t time actually applying paint.

And then there is the question of quality. You may spend many more hours on a particular piece, but that additional time doesn’t guarantee a better end product. Sometimes a masterpiece comes together very quickly; other pieces need to be reworked and reworked and reworked. That extra time put in should in no way increase the value of a piece of fine art. The value of a piece of fine art should be based on the impact it has on you, the viewer, not by the hours spent brushing on the canvas.

August 04, 2009

The Silver Lining

"Sky Sonata IV", 10" x 10", oil on linen, Lydia Johnston

What a productive time I have had for the past three weeks. Once I was able to get back to my studio, I have been having the most fantastic time, that's the silver lining to the accident and not being able to paint for four weeks. Obviously all kinds of ideas were percolating in me during that time of healing. Everything coalesced, and I feel like I have been turning out my best paintings ever.

I have been working at a manic rate, in part as a response after my forced leave and partly because Tom, my partner has been out of town. There have been no distractions, just me and my painting. Now it’s time for me to slow down and catch my breath. I seem to be back to my old pace. Slowly working through a new painting, Applying the first layer, processing it, continuing a few days later once the first layer is dry. I miss the euphoria of the first few days back in my studio, but I knew I couldn’t sustain that pace. Coming up with new ideas and processing them takes time.

July 26, 2009

"Through the Dunes"

"Through the Dunes", 24" x 24", oil on linen, Lydia Johnston

What a perfect summer's day we just had. Upper 70˚s, sunny, light breezes. Here I am in the Green Mountains of Vermont, surrounded by all shades of green, and I'm dreaming of the ocean.

July 23, 2009

New paintings to Lenox Gallery of Fine Art

"Meadow Treasures", 24" x 30", oil on canvas, Lydia Johnston

Today I delivered two new paintings to the Lenox Gallery of Fine Art in Lenox, MA. "Meadow Treasures" is the last of my gem series of meadow paintings, for now. And "Awakening" is my newest large painting in a series of big sky paintings I am working on.

"Awakening", 30" x 40", oil on canvas


"Awakening", 30" x 40", oil on canvas, Lydia Johnston

Create: to produce through artistic or imaginative effort

This has been an exciting time for me. I may have been out for four weeks, but now I have emerged bursting with ideas, and am turning out some of my best paintings.

I find it interesting that the definition for "create" speaks of artistic or imaginative "effort". During the first two weeks after my bicycle accident, there was no way I could even consider painting in my studio. I had no energy for anything but the healing process.

Creating takes a certain mind set, it does require "effort". As I began to be up and about, I could make myself do certain tasks, I could read, but there was no way I could make myself create. It's a little frightening to lose that ability when it is normally what you do on a daily basis.

By the fourth week I was able to finally return to my studio. And what a time I have been having. It's as though all kinds of ideas had been incubating while I was healing. The creativity is pouring out of me.

The first uninterrupted day, I painted a full 30" x 40" sky-scape, and except for one minor adjustment, it was all completed in a number of hours. I was completely drained by the end of that day, but exhilarated as well. And the following day I completed another small sky-scape.

I know I cannot sustain this level of output. Normally I hope to complete a painting in a week, and more likely it takes two or more weeks, with sustained effort. So I will revel in this flow of ideas and creativity.

July 19, 2009

Painting Skies

12" x 9", oil on linen, Lydia Johnston

Some people may disagree, but I have been loving the weather here in southern Vermont this summer. Cool temperatures, imagine 60's and 70's throughout June and July. Only now, by the third week in July, are we creeping up to the 80's. Chill evenings when a blanket is needed. Almost no humidity, so the air feels crisp and the mountains and ridges are clear.

And the ever changing skies, sun shining and then clouds building, the sky getting dark, and darker, and suddenly it's raining. Yes, we've had a lot of rain. But most days, before you know it, the sun is breaking out again, the clouds are scudding across the sky. I love it. The ever changing pattern and movement in our skies. And so I am focused on painting big skies.

July 16, 2009

Back in My Studio

11" x 8", oil on linen, Lydia Johnston

I'm finally back in my studio painting and it feels great. Four weeks ago I was injured in a bicycle accident, no broken bones, but I did a face plant on the pavement and suffered deep abrasions. No energy for anything but healing for the first two weeks. And then another two weeks impatiently waiting for the scrapes on my hands to fully close over so that I could safely work with oil paints.

So I started back on this small sky-scape, just 11" x 8". I had completed the under-painting in yellow ocher before the accident, so the values and composition were set. It's painted on the new linen I am starting to work with. What a pleasure to be back playing with color.

July 07, 2009

New paintings in Gem Series to Lenox Gallery of Fine Art

"Rubies and Sapphires", 30" x 40", oil on canvas, Lydia Johnston

I've just delivered two new paintings in my gem series of meadow paintings to the Lenox Gallery of Fine Art. I continue to experiment and play with different color ranges and different perspectives in these meadow paintings.

"Glowing Gems", 30" x 40", oil on canvas

"Rubies and Sapphires" is a close-up view; in "Glowing Gems" I have stepped back and taken in a larger scene.

June 11, 2009

New Paintings delivered to AZ Fine Arts, Wellesley Hills, MA

"Gold and Lavender", 20" x 30", oil on canvas, Lydia Johnston

I just delivered three new paintings to AZ Fine Arts, located in Wellesley Hills, MA, about a half hour west of Boston.

"Soaring", 20" x 30", oil on canvas

All three paintings are in my big sky series. I love working on big sweeping skies, playing with color and the sense of light.

"Evening Glow", 24" x 36", oil on canvas

If you have a chance, stop in to the gallery and see all the new work.

May 18, 2009

Spring Artwalk in Lenox, MA

"Morning Meadow", 30" x 40", oil on canvas, Lydia Johnston

This Memorial Day Weekend I will be participating once again in the 6th Annual Lenox Spring Artwalk. The artwalk will be held both Saturday and Sunday, May 23rd and 24th, from noon to 5 pm each day. Thirteen galleries in Lenox, MA will be open, with demonstrations and opportunities to meet with artists.

"Summer Morning", 30" x 40", oil on canvas

I will be at the Lenox Gallery of Fine Art at 69 Church Street on both days. Please stop by and see my newest works in the gallery. In addition, during the artwalk some of my smaller paintings, not regularly shown in the gallery, will be on display.

"Walking Thru Blossoms", 16" x 20", oil on canvas

March 13, 2009

Bennington, VT Art Exhibit, "100 for $100"

The opening reception for "One Hundred for $100" Art Exhibit and Sale will be taking place in Bennington, VT this coming Friday, March 20th, 2009. The reception will be from 5-9 pm at the Nichols Building, 457 Main Street, Bennington, VT.

There will be 100 pieces of original art including painting, mixed media, jewelry, photography, sculpture, pottery, fiber arts, and more, all created by local professional artists. All 100 pieces of art will be priced at just $100.

I will have five small original oil paintings in the exhibit, including "Up the Road", 7" x 5", shown above.

Come enjoy an evening of live entertainment, refreshments, and one hundred works of art, meet with the artists and learn about their techniques and inspirations.

A special feature during this first annual event will be the unveiling of Will Moses’ newest painting created for the Shires of Vermont. The long awaited unveiling will be the beginning of a four month tour for the painting throughout Bennington County before being auctioned off in the summer. Will Moses will be attending the event for the unveiling, as will local and state officials to help celebrate and support Bennington County marketing initiatives.

The exhibition and sale, cocktail reception, and unveiling will be Friday, March 20th from 5PM until 9PM, but the studio will reopen on Saturday, March 21st from 10AM until 4PM for an opportunity to enjoy and purchase works of art at a price you won’t find in galleries or stores.

"In the Vermont Hills", 5" x 7", oil on canvas, Lydia Johnston

Admission is free to the public.

For more information please call the Better Bennington Corporation at 802-442-5758 or visit

February 23, 2009

Weathered Barns

20" x 30", oil on canvas, Lydia Johnston

Another new painting, as yet untitled. This fall and early winter we spent many late afternoons out on our tandem bicycle riding through the nearby countryside. I love seeing the old weathered barns in this area. So I took a number of reference photos, and have been painting one of my favorites.

February 07, 2009

Painting Titles

It's been a while since I posted new work. In part, I don't like putting up new paintings until they have a title, and I haven't been coming up with titles for my new work.

I always feel a title is important, it gives a connection to the piece, it's something to hold onto, a bridge to the viewer. I never like it when I see artwork labeled "Untitled". In addition, I need a way to keep track mentally of my paintings. I do have a numbering system for them, but if I am referencing one, I want a named title.

"____", 20" x 30", oil on canvas, Lydia Johnston

So I am posting here one of my recent paintings, even though it is as yet, untitled. Please feel free to send in any title suggestions. Maybe someone else will come up with a good one before I do.