Artist Painter Brenda D. Johnson's Wildlife and Nature Inspired Art

Brenda's Blog and Studio Journal features new works in progress and general updates. You can also follow Brenda on Facebook (search Facebook: Brenda D. Johnson Wildlife Art. (NEW!)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Winter in the studio ~ On the easel

The cool winter temperatures are keeping the studio a bit chilly.  Oil paintings back on the wall and on to a bit of acrylic painting for now.

On the easel now for a week or so is this cougar with miles to go. (so it seems)  She is a beautiful cougar and I love painting her.  She has a sweet face as cougars go.

I've started on the eyes which I find draws me into the painting process easier.  Today I'll work my way down through the base coats from the mouth down to the base of the painting and back to the upper areas filling in the thickness of the hair and it's details.

The holidays are fast approaching.  It's comes on way to fast for comfort given what I would like to accomplish before hand.    

I've not painted a cat (my favorite) in some time.   It's always a good thing to throw in a kitty to warm up the brushes and my heart.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Autumn and Winter in the Studio

Last year I started this  painting of a male Elk.  It's been hanging on my studio wall ever since set aside for other pressing work that needed to be completed.

Winter is a wonderful time to hunker down in the studio and catch up on all those such paintings.
It's a bit chilly out and rain is in the forecast.

This Male Elk making his presence known to all those willing gals is once again on the easel.
Yesterday I began by filling in all the rocks beneath his feet.  Today much of that is still to wet to work on so I'll be painting in the legs and slowly working in the body.

In the image to the right you can see the rocks are roughed in.  It will be a slow process tying all upper and lower levels of water together.   Oil dries way to slow during the chilly winter months.  

The Elk painting measures 22" x 28" and is on stretched canvas.

So far I'm still on my original design track.  However, anything can change as I see something that can me made better as I move along.

As you can see the level of the water drops off the further back into the image.   The water in the foreground will be shallow.   I'll be leaving some of the rocks above the waters surface to enhance the look.

As mentioned above I'll be letting the work from yesterday dry while I begin work on his legs.

I'll post the progress as time allows.   I hope you have enjoyed the painting process so far.  I do believe there are earlier posts from last year.  I''ll check that to make sure.    And repost if anyone is interested if not.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

News, Updates and New Announcing new print releases.

The month of September was one of those rare but brilliant vacations of all time.   One month at on the Southern California Coast.

Mornings often foggy burned off by mid afternoon in time for some sun and exploration.  We ventured south along the coast for some kayaking and site seeing.    We re-visited some of our favorite places like Coronado, La Jolla, Carlsbad and Cabrillo Beach just to name a few.  

I'll be slowly posting in my other blog (Wildlife Art with Brenda D. Johnson, click tab right column) about these adventures and discoveries.    The sunsets, ocean breezes and the many species of wildlife will be relived through my upcoming works.   I have several in mind to create featuring shore life.

We've been back now for almost three weeks and working double paced getting ready for the next show this weekend at San Dimas Wildlife Art Festival.  (check my main site for schedule and information)

I'd like to also announce a new print series of two small works.   The image to the right titled: "Fierce Abbreviated" featuring a Saw Whet Owl and a new Owl painting titled: "Ranch Hand" a 5x7" acrylic on board.  The original is available on the latter of the two mentioned and was the subject of my last post here.  

If you are in Southern California this next week end, please stop by and say hello and enjoy a great wildlife show.   : ) : ) : ) 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

On the easel ~ Saw Whet Owl

Work continues on the little Saw Whet Owl.  It's very close to completion at this point.   More shadows will be painted in beneath him adding more dimension to the overall piece.   More fine tuning of the visible leg and talon.

I spent this morning prepping some small canvases. Each 6 x 6".  I'll be taking these with me on my September adventure.  (I can hear the sound of the waves as I type this)   The drawing will go in on each this afternoon.   (Surprises for the next show in October in San Dimas.)    

Please check my "Schedule Page" on the main website for the dates and time.  San Dimas is a fun show to do.  I'm looking forward to it.
The venue will return to it's original location as well.  The Civic Center in Downtown San Dimas.

 It's always great to catch up with all these folks and meet new ones.  Please stop by my booth and say "Hello".  

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

On the easel ~ Saw Whet Owl

It’s been a varied summer so far combining painting, field trip studies and a trip to Ohio for several weeks.

I’ve started more paintings than I think I’ll ever be able to complete
and had to set them aside for more pressing ones with deadlines.

The field trip (mentioned in the previous post) will be on my companion blog for those who are interested in the pacific underwater
piece.   Of course, I’ve just returned from Ohio only Monday so
that adventure (and an interesting one) will be forthcoming as well.

There is approximately three weeks at the easel and off on yet another adventure.  I’ll be spending some time at the beach with dual purpose,
both fun and reference photos.  

My next show is in October and I’ll be finishing up some small works
for that venue. (check my main website calendar for dates).

There are several reference photos that look interesting for same; i.e.   The Saw Whet Owl I’m in the process of painting now, and I was thinking of painting a beautiful swan.  I have a dove in a nest in which the colors are amazing that I might squeeze in as well. 

I’m missing my favorite subject cats !  It’s been some time since I painted one and feel an itch to do so.  It’s often so hard to decide
which subject to paint.  Too may options!

Here is the beginnings of the little owl.  It’s a 5” x 7” acrylic on board.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sea Otter ~ Aquarium of the Pacific ~ Time to study !

Probably the best thing about being a wildlife artist is the field work necessary to capture the best representation of the subjects or habitat being worked on.  In my case, the recent work on my Pacific Underwater painting has come to a point were my reference is somewhat inadequate.    So off I go again to gather those necessary refreshers on the subject; the southern sea otter (Enhydra lutris nersis).

Luckily the Aquarium of the Pacific offers up a very nice exhibit to observe and study this little darling of the sea.

A dear friend has offered to ride along and enjoy the day with me.  She is an artist in her own right and loves nature and wildlife as much as me.    I love my job!  Great friends and wildlife go together very well.   : )

The image I have posted here is of one tank among many at the aquarium.   Rather sets the mood I think!   I can't wait !

I was thinking about posting some of the finds on my other blog as well as this one.  So, with that, check back and follow the Wildlife with Brenda D. Johnson blog. for the next update on Pacific Otters and more.    : ) 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Pacific Underwater Scene... On the easel

My fascination with the ocean probably started when I was first introduced to Padre Island while living in Texas as a young child.
My parents took me to the beach often.  I remember the Gulf Coast well.  

Our family relocated to California around my 4th grade of school.  I fell in love with the California coast line.   

I've spent many a weekend and or weeks out on the ocean boating (including sailing) deep sea fishing, kayaking...... you name it.

Why I never chose to paint the ocean waters previously is beyond me because so far I've enjoyed every moment of the exploration and study required to do so!

This painting is the second of my adventures with painting the ocean.
I am in love with the lighting and cast shadows of underwater scenes.  The light dancing on objects below the surface is fascinating to me.

I hope to capture that same feeling with this new painting!  Of those
who know me also know, I love a good challenge when it comes to painting.   

A dear friend and I will be venturing down to Long Beach Aquarium to study some specific species which will be included in this painting.  Reference photos are difficult to get, so I'll be taking along sketch pad and pencil to capture a bit of anatomy for same.    

Here in this photo, you can see a nice base coat starting to build and a sense of depth.  I have a long way to go in completing this one.   The left side will have more kelp as well but the critters must to drawn in first to achieve overall balance.   

I will post updates as time permits.   I'd love to hear your thoughts and stories as well.  So please feel free to email or post to this blog.     : ) 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

51st Annual Exhibition of the Society of Animal Artists

I'm honored to announce Caribbean Cruise”, has been selected for the 51st Annual Exhibition of the Society of Animal Artists, to be displayed from September 17 through December 31, 2011 at the Dennos Museum Center in Traverse City, MI.

If you are in or around the state of Michigan, I highly recommend attending or viewing this exhibition.  

For more information about the show or the National Tour that follows, check out the website :

I'll list the tour itinerary should this painting be selected for the annual tour.  The selection has not been made for same as yet.  

It's been a great start to the year!  :)

Pet Portrait commission ~ on the easel

The pet portrait commission is coming along nicely with still much to complete.

I'm concentrating on the grasses and ground at this time.  Once the back ground has been painted in, I'll return to the kitty for some last details pulling it all together.

This portrait has been a lot of fun in that the client wanted a nature setting.  This kitty spends most days out in and out of the woods surrounding the property and play hunting.  (well, maybe not always, it is a cat)

I'll post  the completed painting as time allows.  Look for the updates in several weeks.   

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Pet Portrait, Domestic Cat

Several years ago, one of my Bobcat paintings made the cover of a hunting magazine.  I can't believe people hunt them!  Yikes!  But, through that cover I met a lovely couple whom I've kept in contact with over several years now.  I've been honored by a commission from them and their character of farm cat will be the subject of that piece.

Here I have the base coat in.    There is lots of tid bits on the ground to paint in, grasses to complete ... and, of course the kitty.      I'll post updates as time allows.

The size of this painting is a 9" x 12", acrylic on board.   :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I'm delighted to say this painting of the Barn Owl and Flying Squirrel is finally complete.

There are many design challenges that went along with its concept.  I was determined to overcome them.  I believe I have.   

The branches basically tie these two subjects together.  There are two parallel lines, upper and lower almost presenting two separate paintings.  The "Z" created in the added branches help the eye flow through this piece.

The story here is one that is totally realistic in the wild.  Lunch, dinner or otherwise, this Owl has found it's prey and must navigate the thick wooded area through many branches!  It would be too realistic for most if this little flying squirrel did not escape this day!   It's my story, so please find relief that the owl will have to find something else for his meal.  He escaped!

The medium is acrylic painted on clayboard.  The size is 12" W x 24" H.

On the easel now is a small cotton tail and Saw Whet Owl.  I have a few days left to complete them.  As they are smaller and less complicated, it should not be that difficult.

I have one commission to start up again next week.  Clients can only be so patient, deadlines, shows or what!   This commission is a fun piece.  It depicts a cat snooping it's way the the weeds.  Cats love to do this playing "the hunter".   They are delightful to watch!  I find great humor it it!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Caribbean Cruiser Wins "Excellence Award!" at Nature Works, Tulsa

There are a couple of noteworthy updates to share.  March has started out quite nicely.  

Caribbean Cruiser pictured to the left has won it's second award.  This time an "Excellence Award" from the Nature Works show in Tulsa, OK.  I'm very honored and excited.

A print release is upcoming in a few weeks.  I'll be releasing 50 Signed - Numbered Limited Edition Giclee Canvas prints along with 7 Artists Proofs.

Check the website for updates and purchasing information on them.  They can be ordered of course now prior to release.  Simply contact the studio.  If you have a special Anniversary date or Birthday date, that number edition might be available now.  Feel free to check.

A second bit of news as well.  I've been contacted my Kennedy Publishing.  I have two images being included in the upcoming "Best of Wildlife" series.    "Mountain Heir" and "Bull Market" will be featured in this hard cover book.   I'll post more when the release date is firm.

I'm currently painting feverishly trying to complete a few paintings for upcoming due dates.  I've started the Flying Squirrel piece again!  I'm excited about getting back to this one.  More back lit critters!   There are several unfinished pieces on the wall in the studio.  They stare at me as if to say, "come ON", get with it!     Among them the Elk in the water, two juvenile bears and some Bobcats!!!!   

More as time allows!   :-)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Nature Works ~ Tulsa here I come!

Well, it's that time again. The packing and boxing making ready for another wonderful art show in Tulsa.  I'm looking forward to seeing everyone again and catching up on all that's new and making new friends (always an added bonus!).  

I've put together some very different challenging paintings for this show.  These new works are a push from my more recognizable subjects.    The peacock shown in this update is one of the most difficult complex paintings I've done in some time.  Literally every square inch is detailed with fine strokes defining each feather.  

If you are in the Oklahoma area the weekend of March 5th and 6th, please come by and enjoy this amazing show.  Stop by my booth and say "Hello"!     Here is the link for location and activities over the weekend.

To preview the new originals and new Limited Edition Prints available, please visit my main website at:  All the new images have been added.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Red Fox

Untitled Red Fox small work of 5" x 7" is now complete.   

I'll have to come up with a name on this one.
"A story to tell" maybe ??  He is definitely yipping it up about something.   :-)

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

After working on several complex paintings a nice little 5" x 7" to sooth the soul.  

This little Red Fox baby has it's song to sing.  The sun will glow through that fist coat of fur brightly creating a lovely halo.     

The day is broken up by appointments then back to the studio to finish this little guy and on to the next painting already drawn on to the canvas.

My husband wants me to paint a bison.  So in his honor, one Yellowstone Bison.  

I'm also working on a nice kitty for a dear lady friend in Kansas.  It's a beautiful domestic cat with very unique markings and coloring.   Though I have little time for commissions this time of the year.  This painting should be a delight to do.   I'm looking forward to it.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Red-Earred Slider ~ On the easel

Here is an update of the current turtle painting.  At this point, I've managed the back ground, painted in the Turtles and working on the surface features of the water.  Bubbles and green algae.  A perfect addition to any thick pond or creek water.  Yuk!  ha ha ha!

Look for the completed painting soon up on my main web site.  I'll also be adding the completed Peacock painting at the same time.  (web designer willing, lol)

Red-Earred Slider ~ On the easel

A few weeks ago, I started a group of Red Earred Turtles.  Here I've just started filling in the basic base coat on the turtles and logs in this shot.  This painting is an 8" x 18" vertical acrylic on canvas.

These and other fresh water turtles are extremely shy.  First site of anyone getting a bit too close and off they plunk into the water.

I must have had literally dozens of shots deleted just showing a splash!

The Ohio River and it's creeks are full of Red-Earred Sliders, Snapping Turtles and one other type.  This was my main source for observation.  They love that thick green algae or muddy type water.   The visibility in their preferred ponds and creeks is low.    Sounds pretty gross to us but they are thriving here and are in abundance.

I've placed this group of five on a rather wide piece of Real Estate but often they would be tottering on the slenderest of branch soaking up the warmth of the sun.  Anything sticking out of the water is fair game for sun worshiping.   They are quit comical to me.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Peacock ~ On the easel...

Work continues on the Peacock today (probably will take several more days).  I have about one third of the painting at the bottom to paint in.  The beak needs some refining and added color as well. 

It's hard to rush these colorful small feathers behind the neck.  Each on is very unique to the other.  One by one its character reveals itself as I inch my way through them.

I can't even imagine painting the whole bird with mating display in as fine a detail as I have attempted here!   It might take 6 months at least!

I'll post more as it progresses.   :-)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Peacock ~ On the easel...

Here is a little update on the progress of this Peacock painting I've inched my way through.

I've just started the feathers behind the neck.  I thought the long plumes were going to be difficult, not so.   I'm finding these short brilliantly colored  ones to be quit interesting and complex.

I have about a third of this piece reasonably done.  There are always that last  bit of washes of color here and there.  Given the long thin design of this painting I'll be particularly careful to use a slight color theory to pop shadows in such a way to draw the viewers eye up and around through the piece.  I'm certainly not that far yet however.

I read a comment on Facebook written by a gentlemen in India.  He seemed particularly interested in this piece as it is the National Bird of India.

Does that spark your curiosity?  It does mine!   I'll be doing a bit of research on that subject when time permits.  This particular bird does seem appropriate as their national bird.  I'll post what I find.  It just might be an interesting read.  I know it will be for me.   Warm thoughts your way on this very chilly day on the mountain.   :-)

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Peacock ~ On the easel...

Happy New Year !  

May all your dreams and wishes come true!

This has been an interesting year for us with all the usual.  Health issues all behind us now, we are ready for a great year!  I think I spared everyone the wild unexpected news.   At the risk of sounding like a county western song, I'll spare you again.    So lots of laughter, a wonderful break from the norm, it all came out quite well anyway!

I'm gearing up in the studio for my next show in Tulsa, OK.,  Nature Works.    Plus, there are several other venues I'm interested in submitting to as well.

The image above is the beginning of a 6" x 24" cropped Peacock.  It's very complex to say the least!  I think I'll make friends with this painting AFTER I've completed it.  Right now there is so much to do to complete it.   I've mentioned this to others regarding this endeavor,  "I'm so lost in the feathers!"  

I'm working in Acrylic so it's pretty fast moving if I can stay on task.  There are a lot of breaks required on this work.  ha ha ha!  Whew!   Updates as I progress!  :- )

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