Jay Johnson This artist puts the wilderness, and the wildlife who resides there, on a
pedestal. It holds an esteemed place in his heart and his art reflects that
reverence. "I paint," he says, "because I have such a great appreciation for
the natural world."
That appreciation came early. Living most of his childhood on the coast of
Massachusetts, his family summered in Maine where Johnson eagerly explored the
hills and forests and he would draw what he discovered. The fascination for all
things outdoors didn’t diminish with his teen years. When he was seventeen he
spent seventy days in New Hampshire climbing forty-seven of the White
Mountains’ highest peaks in one continuous, marathon hiking and camping trip.
He studied abstract painting and natural sciences at Cornell University, with a
particular appreciation of entomology. Not surprisingly, graduation saw him
continue his wanderlust. He spent the next year and a half covering ten
thousand miles of wild America, on foot, by bicycle and in a rowboat.
"I passed through every kind of natural environment there is," he
says. "Mountains, rivers, deserts and coastlines."
Finally he set about to paint full-time, his images communicating the idealized
glow of nature at its best. There is a roundness and perfection in Johnson’s
view, reflecting his feelings for the wild. His work has been exhibited at the
Society of Animal Artists annual exhibition, is in the permanent collection of
the esteemed Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum and has even been shown at the
U.S. Embassy in Moscow.