by Leanna Lehman —
Churchill County Library hosted a reception for local artist, Denise Johnson on Tuesday, March 19th. Using a unique layering process, Johnson combines items like cheesecloth, hot and cold waxes, vintage laces, teabags, along with a variety of paints and pigments to create her one-of-a-kind pieces.
The former owner of Art Seeds in Fallon, Johnson has been an artist her entire life. After taking a few art classes at WNC, Johnson began to develop her own unique artistic process in mixed-media. Upon retirement, she was able to start devoting herself to her dream and become a full-time artist.
Several of her new pieces were born out of her love for portraiture. Having a remarkable gift for creating alluring and mysterious faces, her painted ladies stole the show. Johnson’s use of pigments mixed with wax and burned as an inlay (encaustic painting) is stunning, creating a simultaneous softness, depth, and texture that cannot be achieved with pigment alone.
Johnson explained that when she starts each new work, “I write a happy or positive message underneath, setting the tone for the whole piece.” Though it is soon no longer visible, it quietly sends its joyous vibe from start to finish and is there for the next person to receive. From there, she applies her mediums; pigment, cloth, wax, gold leaf, hand-made papers, etc., layering each on top of the other. Sometimes she has to allow for days of drying time before adding the next layer to preserve the structural integrity of the piece. Johnson estimates that she invested at least two years in creating her exhibit pieces on display now.
Johnson’s work will be on display through March and April at the Churchill County Library with some pieces some still for sale. Her Facebook page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/deniselovelacejohnsonstudio/
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