LYDIA B. JOHNSTON
ABOUT THE ARTIST

I am an artist living and working in northern New Mexico. My oil paintings are full of rich, vibrant colors. When you look at one of my paintings, I want you to sink into it and be transported.

My work is moving towards abstraction. I create a sense of place without providing all the details, drawing you back continually to find something new. I want my paintings to have mystery, to allude to the familiar while remaining ambiguous. By hinting at things, I hope to trigger your imagination, allowing you to connect in a profound way.

In my studio, I apply multiple layers of oil paint, using both transparent and opaque colors, to achieve a richness and depth. In addition to brushes, I work with wide color shapers, silicone tools similar to palette knives, that give my work its distinctive look, the angled and carved markings that add vitality and complexity.

I have been working with color and design since 1985. I started in fabric, creating my own designs for wall hangings and painting and dying my materials. These wall hangings are purely abstract, but often evoke a sense of the world around us. Color has always been my passion. In my studio I search for just the right combinations of colors to captivate.

In 2003, I switched to oil paints from a desire to have more control of my colors. The serendipity of the fabric dying process was exhilarating, but unpredictable. Painting with oils gives me the control over color I was searching for. With the switch in medium, my work changed from purely abstract to expressing landscapes, and now it is moving back towards the abstract.

For thirty years I worked in southwestern Vermont. I recently moved to northern New Mexico where I am delighting in the big, open skies and incredible light. My work has been exhibited throughout the country and hangs in many private collections.