Monday, 4 April 2011

Artist of the Month - Kim Squire Johnston

Introducing our Artist of the Month of April: 

Q and A with Kim Squire Johnston:

1.      Please tell us about the project you are currently busy with.

At the moment an Erythrina, Sabie Star and a series of Hibiscus flowers in colour pencil just for fun. I am also busy with planning for future exhibits and themes.  

2.     What is your art background? Where did you receive training?

I attended the University of Pretoria where I studied Information Design which was a 4 year degree course for Graphic Designers. I also attended Pro Arte and there I did art specifically design, graphics and painting.

     What is your aim for the 2011, and beyond?

This year my focus is on establishing my Coloured Pencil Art School and painting for the Johannesburg exhibition coming up in October. I am also busy planning my work for the Kirstenbosch exhibition for next year. 

     Do you have a favourite subject that you particularly love to paint?

Not as yet. I am very new to botanical painting so I am still exploring the vast amount of different subjects. But admittedly I am drawn to plants that we don't often see, the rare and unusual plants. 

     Is there a particular plant that you would love to paint but haven’t had the opportunity yet?

There are so many! I would love to paint the Aloe polyphylla in its natural habitat.

     What is your most dreaded job, or aspect of being a botanical artist?

I don't think there is any job that I can dread because I am just so happy to be able to paint and hone my craft. There are however some tough challenges (like plants with lots of details) and usually I end up having a good old giggle when I have lost my place.

     What is your favourite brand of paints, brushes and paper?

Winsor and Newton paint (I have one tube of Talens Rembrandt and it's great), Raphael Kolinsky sable brushes (series 8408) and the Kolinsky Sable brushes that I bought from Green and Stone are very nice brushes! And of course Arches HP 300gsm.

     Do you have a particular artist/or artist’s whose work you particularly admire and receive inspiration from.

I love Susannah Blaxill's work, probably because of the detail and the graphic nature of her work, to me, she doesn't paint plants she describes them.
The other artist that I admire is Jenny Philips, she has a wonderful way with texture, I would love to learn from her. Some ladies a little closer to home would be Ann Harris, Gillian Condy and Jennifer Johnston Davidson.

     What is your favourite botanical art book at the moment?

This is a hard question, Ann Swan's "Botanical Painting with Coloured Pencils" is a wonderful book but I have read that so now I'm on the prowl again. 

 Do you have a favourite botanical ‘art tip’ that you can part with?

Experimentation is key so do roughs and draw, draw, draw. I also believe that you can never know everything so I am always looking for books to read and learn from. And if that doesn't help then I'm looking for people that I can learn from. I can never have enough knowledge. 

Kim in the field

Watercolour. Click to enlarge

Watercolour. Click to enlarge

Watercolour. Click to enlarge

Coloured pencil. Click to enlarge

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