About the Artist
James L Johnson is a landscape impressionist oil painter specializing in triptychs. He paints scenes from the Southwest, Montana, and more.
* * *
James L Johnson is an artist of great potential and promise. His rich color and confident brushwork reveal a depth of visual insight uncommon to emerging artists. His impressionist-realist western oil paintings have already received numerous awards and recognition, including a recent honorable mention and full-page feature in Southwest Art magazine (December 2015 issue). Rich and diverse cultural experiences in the Navajo Nation, Spain, Montana, and the Middle East have instilled in James a deep hunger for more than scenic variety - he thrives on promoting people, places, and principles that engender peace, harmony, and balance in our unstable world.
In his landscape and figurative works, he strives for just this kind of harmony. Beginning this year, James has embarked on a long-term commitment to paint primarily western landscapes and figures exclusively in the triptych format (a single work of art comprised of three related panels). He explains several reasons behind this approach in his artist statement:
“Colors and numbers fascinate me. While color sings to my heart, numeric patterns in nature tickle my mind. I paint primarily in the triptych format, considering the number three to represent, symbolically, a rhythmic process common to all things in our world and universe: Unity, Variety, Harmony. My paintings are impressionistic in nature, guided by an effort to first capture the human emotion of a moment in time, then to hint at some deeper, timeless truth portrayed quietly throughout God’s masterful handiwork. Sharing my awe and reverence for the natural order and beauty of this planet is my passion and purpose. Through observation and creation, I have found pondering the rich visual world in which we live to be a powerful antidote to the anxiety, stress, and complexity of life.”
Prior to pursuing fine art as a full-time career, James taught both collegiate- and high school-level art classes, including 2 years on the breathtakingly beautiful Navajo Indian Reservation, and 3 years at Brigham Young University–Idaho. He has participated actively in a variety of shows, commissions, and exhibitions along the way, and for a time freelanced as an editorial illustrator. He has been drawing and painting for as long as he can remember, and has never stopped learning.
James received his BFA in Illustration from BYU–Idaho in 2008, followed by an MFA from the Academy of Art University in 2012. This foundation included mentoring and workshops from many notable artists, including Albin Veselka, Leon Parson, Morgan Weistling, Mike Malm, John Poon, Bryan Mark Taylor, and Josh Clare. The results of rubbing shoulders with these incredibly talented teachers and peers included a love of design, an understanding of light, a commitment to drawing and painting from life (“en plein air”), and, best of all, marriage to the equally talented and much prettier artist, Crystal Oftedahl (crystalj.net).
James and Crystal live in Kalispell, Montana with their most rewarding creations - 3 young adorable kids. They survive each day’s adventure only by the grace of God.
* * *
2017 Top 15%, "Sheltered Quarters", March FASO Boldbrush Competition
2016 Purchase Award & 2nd Place, "Reach," Thundering Oaks Paint out & Exhibition
2015 Hon. Mention, “Nana’s Girl”, Artistic Excellence Competition, Southwest Art Mag.
2013 Best of Show in Category, “Hemming Cabin”, Idaho Summerfest Art Competition
2013 Idaho Artist of the Year, Twin Cities TOSCA Magazine
2012 Judge’s Choice Award “Feed My Sheep”, IAA Annual Christmas Showcase
2011 MFA Online Award “Toast Crumbs”, Academy of Art University
2011 2nd Place – “Ode to Toast”, FASO BoldBrush Competition
2009 2nd Place – “Steady, Upward Course”, BYU-Idaho Spirit Week Art Contest, BYU–ID
2017 2-Person Show, "Glacier Going Back," Whitefish, MT
2017 John Alexander, "Abou Ben Adem"
2016 Dennis Largey, "Worlds Without Number"
2016 Thundering Oaks Paint Out, Independence, MO
2015 Bluff Arts Festival/Exhibition, Bluff, UT
2014 Bernedette McCracken, “Moroni’s Three”
2014 Emma Kunda, “Emma’s Father”
2014 Kendra Burton, “Oquirrh Mountain Temple”
2013 Inspirational Art Association Annual Christmas Showcase (Juried), Salt Lake City, UT
2013 Deseret Book Fine Art Gallery Painting Demo/Exhibition, Salt Lake City, UT
2013 Ben Behunin, “Have Ye Any Meat?”
2013 Driggs Diggs Plein Air Festival, Driggs, ID
2013 Rexburg Summerfest Art Competition, Rexburg, ID
2012 Inspirational Art Association Annual Christmas Showcase (Juried), Salt Lake City, UT
2012 Yohauna Kunz, “The Time is At Hand”
2012 Elliott Fouts Gallery (Representation), Sacramento, CA
2012 Jenny Cooper, “Believe, Obey, Endure”
2011 Mark and Andrea Hales, Couple Portrait
2011 Inspirational Art Association Annual Christmas Showcase (Juried), Salt Lake City, UT
2011 26th Annual Spiritual & Religious Art of Utah, (Curated) Springville MOA, UT
2011 Pioneer Art Festival, Praiseworthy Arts Foundation (Juried), Salt Lake City, UT
2010 John & Valerie Brodie, “A Little Child Shall Lead Them”
2010 AAU Spring Salon, Academy of Art University (Juried), San Francisco, CA
2009 Leah Davis, “Strength to Overcome”
2009 David & JoAnn Seely, Children Portrait
2008 BFA Senior Exhibition, BYU–Idaho Spori Art Gallery (Group), Rexburg, ID
2008 David & Kristi Bennett, Couple Portrait
2008 Patrick Hays, “Ramona Landscape”
2007 BYU–I Student Art Showcase (Juried), BYU–I Spori Art Gallery (Juried), Rexburg, ID
2006 BYU–I Student Art Showcase (Juried), BYU–I Spori Art Gallery (Juried), Rexburg, ID
2016 Qiang Huang, 3-day oil painting workshop
2013 Teaching Certificate, BYU–Idaho
2012 MFA, Academy of Art University
2012 Morgan Weistling, 3-month mentorship (remote)
2012 Albin Veselka, 1-month internship (in-studio)
2011 Walter Rane, 3-month mentorship (remote)
2010 John Poon, landscape paint-out, guidance
2009 Ovanes Berberian, still life demonstration
2008 BFA, Brigham Young University–Idaho
2007 Robert Barrett, 1-month internship (in-studio)