Lydia Johnston

“Seduced by color, I juxtapose one hue against another, layer after layer, until suddenly the piece sings.”

My inspiration comes from the natural beauty that surrounds me in northern New Mexico. The patterns and nuanced gradations of color that are found in nature inform my work. The yellows and oranges of lichens high up in the mountains, the profusion of floral colors, and the intense display of a sunset or sunrise awaken my senses. These experiences percolate in my subconscious mind and are expressed in mysterious ways through my art.

Back in my studio, I begin laying colors onto the surface, mixing yellows, oranges, reds, and blues, creating complex colors and gradations. Silicone tools and brayers create the uncontrolled marks I love and are reminiscent of the textile art I created in the past.

Each painting begins without any preconceived notion, as I intuitively play with color and marks, patterns and movement, from which my artwork emerges. Numerous thin layers of oil and cold wax are rolled, one on top of another, to create depth and luminosity. Marks are scratched onto the surface to reveal shimmering colors just below, and patterns, rolled onto the surface, add another dimension. Trusting my intuitive self, I work freely with my brayer never knowing the exact pattern it will reveal. This is the magic! Each mark leads to another, and a delicate dance begins.

Initial marks may be spontaneous, but the response is carefully chosen. Each piece develops slowly over time until, quite suddenly, it feels complete. Color contrasts are achieved, which add interest, with just enough value contrasts to be compelling in low light.

My art comes from deep within me, tapping into my past experiences and the places I have lived. I remain dedicated to experimenting with my art, allowing it to evolve, with the one constant being my passion for color.

Taos News – Tempo –
Lydia Johnston’s abstractions (pdf)