A Few Words About Some of My Work

Colour Bear 8x10
Colour Bear 8×10 pencil, colour pencil, micron pen, water colour

Colour Bear:

Colour Bear is a favourite of mine. It was my 2nd Anniversary card I made for my Lady, and it represents us. We are polar opposites who suit each other very well. Before we met my art tended to be black and white pencil and ink work. She brought colour into my life. My Lady is the bear, and I am the penguin she is giving colour to. Of all the art cards I sell when I set up a tent or have a show in my home, Colour Bear is far and away the most popular – I’m guessing people sense the connection in the work that we have in real life 🙂


Mark Johnson_Forest Depths 8.5x12.75
Forest Depths 8.5×12.75 pencil


Forest Depths:

Forest Depths and Myth Becomes Dream are related works in that they both come from thinking about the Drowned Lands that sank beneath the waves during the protracted end of the last Ice Age. Forest Depths portrays the ancient forests our ancestors walked in. Those forests are now 300 feet deep under the ocean, and what once was a place of wind and distant vista  – the world where fish have replaced the birds and swim where they once flew.

I really liked working the depths with pencil, and laying the fish forms over top as a strong graphic counterpoint. It seems like a successful drawing.


Mark Johnson_Myth Becomes Dream 24x18
Myth Becomes Dream 24×18 acrylic


Myth Becomes Dream:

The glaciers collapsed in three stages, separated by about 3,000 years each, the attendant catastrophic flooding and tectonic surges ending approximately 11,000 BC. The cities, villiages, temples and farms that spread around the world are gone. The people are gone, along with all their stories. Stories that became myths among the surviving highland people who saw the floods sweep across those long-gone plains and fields. And over time, even the myths have been largely forgotten. All that is left are the dreams that lend an odd familiarity to things no longer there, things that now only dwell in our collective subconsciousness.

The way I wove the forms and colours together makes this painting the most complete one I’ve done to date.


Mark Johnson_Night Toad 16x12
Night Toad 16×12 pencil


Night Toad:

Some of my work is based on unexpected mental images. These images often feel important in some way. Exploring why I feel an image has import acts as the start of a piece. Night Toad is the product of such an image. I’ve heard different times that people want to know the stories that the work acts as a window for. Night Toad is a piece with multiple stories I may share again some day.

Mark Johnson_Reflections 24x18
Reflections 24×18 acrylic


Reflections: I was reflecting one day. You know, thinking about animals, and elements, and flow, and interaction . . .  And then I thought of the word “reflecting” in it’s various manifestations. We think, we reflect. We act and react with and upon each other – which is reflecting each other. Water and air both reflect light in different ways. The way creatures in the environments of these elements act in ways that reflect their similarities as well as the differences between them.

I take pleasure in words. I also enjoy wrapping form and colour in dynamic and interesting shapes and flows. Hence “Reflections”.



Mark Johnson_Sky Dancers 16x20

Sky Dancers 16×20 acrylic


Sky Dancers:

I wanted to take the Tree Dancer concept and try to translate it into paint. I wanted to sweep the sky into the earth, the surface into the depths, the ephemeral into the eternal. I wanted to play with the paint. Stir in a taste of our Canadian North where the tree line merges into the tundra, and you get “Sky Dancers”.

Mark Johnson_Snoozer 10x8
Snoozer 10×8 colour pencil, pencil, micron pen, inkjet


Pure fun. This is a playful drawing of a favourite concept of mine. A dragon in down-time, at ease with itself and its place. You may see the pleasure I take in the act of laying line over line – pleasure enhanced because I was using a nice micron pen. The joy found in plump sinuous form. Of course (because I drew it while thinking of Christmas) there is wondering about what dreams, what thoughts of suger-plums or dragon-equivalents are dancing behind those great closed eyes as the beast awaits Santa’s coming.


Mark Johnson_The Heat of the Day 8x10
The Heat of the Day 8×10 pencil


The Heat of the Day:

A planned drawing, taking the Tree Dancer into the veldt. Showing the care that Nature with it’s complex simplicities invests in every part of  a place. Drawing Mother Love, and the importance of taking time when it’s possible to take time. To date this is my most recent Tree Dancer drawing.


Mark Johnson_The Weave 12x16
The Weave 12×16 colour pencil, pencil


The Weave:

I wanted to put a taste of colour into a drawing, with a combination of Forest Depths/Sky Dancers for a starting point, The Weave is about how sea and sky and land, and all that dwell there, weave in and out of each other in a dance that goes back as far as the beginnings of life on this planet. Done while enjoying the play of pencil with colour pencil, form with form.


Mark Johnson_Tree Dancer in Flight 14x18
Tree Dancer in Flight 14×18 pencil


Tree Dancer in Flight:

This is one of the first larger scale truly successful Tree Dancers. I was happy with the way the form of the tree and the form of the woman were equal in strength in a rather lovely way. It has apparent depth, which is important for someone who has never properly experienced depth perception. And the likeness of my Lady, which is an element incorporated into many of my Tree Dancers, worked out rather well.