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 Jay J. Johnson  (1960 - )

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Lived/Active: Massachusetts      Known for: wildlife in landscape

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Jay J Johnson
An example of work by Jay J. Johnson
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following is from the artist, whose website is
He credits his feature article in "American Artist" magazine, December 1999.

Growing up on the peninsula of Marblehead, Massachusetts, wildlife painter Jay Johnson developed a fascination with nature from childhood explorations of remote areas with his father and trips to wildlife refuges with his mother. Working today in his studio, Johnson follows the time-honored tradition of painting with oils on fine linen, capturing the movement, spirit and realism of American wildlife.

In 1976, when he was 17, he climbed all 48 peaks of the White Mountains of New Hampshire, becoming the youngest person ever to accomplish that feat in one continuous hike. Two years later, he hiked the length of the 250 mile-long John Muir Trail in northern California, and in April 1981, he hiked 2,700 miles from Mount Katahdin in Maine southward along the Appalachian Trial to the Gulf of Mexico. His goal in these travels was to place himself as closely as possible in the settings where animals lived. He took thousands of slides, which he later used in his paintings.

Johnson graduated from Cornell University with a major in art and then expanded his knowledge by studying the work of Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, and living artists including Robert Bateman and Robert Kuhn. He established his home and studio in Hamilton, Massachusetts and produced his first serious wildlife painting in 1989--a kit fox in the dunes of New Mexico with a thunderstorm sky. The painting toured the country with the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum wildlife exhibit and, gaining him much acclaim, launched his career.

His preferred medium is acrylics, and he sketches initially from slides that he organizes by subject category. He works hard to achieve highly-textured backgrounds, especially between and directly behind his animal subjects, and to achieve atmospheric lighting effects. When finished, Johnson applies many layers of high-gloss varnish and then frames his paintings in gold leaf on which he applies a unique patina to compliment the subject matter.

He is active with the Society of Animal Artists and exhibits at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, Wisconsin, and the National Museum of Wildlife in Jackson, Wyoming. The Greenwich Workshop in Shelton, Connecticut produces prints of his work. In 1998, when he was invited to exhibit with the Artists of America show in Denver, his work sold out, a testimony to the fact that others are impressed by his ability to convey his love of natural environment.

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