A signature member of the Federation of Canadian Artists, Therese Johnston (AFCA) has established herself as a committed artist and after 40 years of painting she still has a passion for exploring all aspects of painting and experimenting with color and design. Some incredible paintings by the Parksville artist can be seen at The Gallery at Qualicum Art Supply in Qualicum Beach.
The first thing you notice when looking at Johnston’s exhibition is her use of vibrant colours. She said her paintings have evolved over the years and she likes to lose herself in the colour, textures and the emotions each piece generates.
“I started painting in foils, then charcoal and I even did some awful velvet paintings years ago,” she admitted.
Johnston said her brother has one of those velvet pieces and although she has asked him to get rid of it, “he won’t.”
For many years Johnston dabbled in water colours, then acrylics and mixed media which is what she likes best.
“It is more challenging. It is semi abstract and not totally realistic. I like something different. I really like vibrant colours and you get that with acrylics,” she said.
Johnston said she can’t help but get excited with colours, shapes and textures and most of the time her work just happens spontaneously.
“Sometimes I start throwing paint around. In the beginning there is no definite preconceived plan or expectation. I let the paint guide me.”
She agreed her inspiration comes from the places she visits and a trip to Japan is what inspired her to paint her geishas.
“I find the Japanese women very elegant and stately. I have done three geishas and they have all sold. They are just fun to do,” she said.
A trip to Granville Island was the inspiration for a series of bridges as well as some jazz musicians she enjoyed painting.
“There were two of them playing and I took some pictures and that was my inspiration. It is usually from a point of reference. I will look at the picture but then that is it, the rest is from my imagination.”
As a member of the Arrowsmith chapter of the FCA she has won several awards for her work in juried shows and she has earned the signature status of Associate of the Federation of Canadian Artists (AFCA).
Eventually she will apply for the Senior Signature Member status which is the highest level an artist can achieve in the association.
“I will go for next level one day. My daughter keeps after me to go for it.” She agreed the achievement is important for an artist because, “It is a way to grade yourself and say I have made it.”
The FCA is a community of artists and art lovers whose mission is to share and promote the passion and pleasure of the visual arts through exhibition, education and communication.
Johnston’s fans appreciate her colorful abstract pieces of work; many of her paintings both big and small proudly hang in their homes. You can check out Johnston’s colorful treasures on display in the gallery at 206 First Avenue West in Qualicum Beach for the next two months.