Russell grew up in Prescott, AZ and enjoyed the closeness of the outdoors. Today, he is an avid hiker, seeking out trails to explore. On these explorations, Russell will paint “en plein aire” as well as photograph and sketch subjects for future paintings. Some of his favorite places to hike to find inspiration include: the Grand Canyon, Clear Creek, Wet Beaver Creek, Fossil Creek, West Fork, Oak Creek, the San Francisco Peaks, Granite Mountain, and Watson Woods of Prescott.
Come see Russell Johnson fine art originals at The Frame and I art gallery in Prescott.
Through art-making he finds outlets to release expressions of the mysteries of nature. He began his love of art at a young age, creating drawings of subjects around his childhood home near Lynx Creek in Prescott. He acquired his first degree in art from Yavapai College, Associates of Arts, in 2001. Russell went on to receive his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Arizona in May of 2003. He later completed his thesis work, May of 2011, and graduated with a Master’s of Arts degree in Visual Arts from Prescott College. His thesis project was titled “Designing a Sublime Painting of the Grand Canyon.” In it, he wrote this artist statement: “The Grand Canyon is a landscape of radiant sights and experiences. The art I create reflects the excitement I feel toward the Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon is a familiar and refreshing place yet it always reveals new pages in its seemingly endless book. Each new page is a delightful discovery of nature’s mysteries, an enduring cyclical process that encourages me to express the impact of its sublime qualities. My approach to painting is to investigate grand themes in nature. During my portfolio research, I developed a strategy to translate my hiking experiences into impressions of how it actually felt to witness the Grand Canyon. Unconcerned about conveying exact details, I limited my attention to faithful and imaginative contemplation of the sublime. Just as the Grand Canyon has left an impression on me, my paintings serve a similar purpose: to invite an exploration of its majestic beauty.”
Russell’s paintings are vibrant and energetic, often painting with a palette knife. He is a colorist, emphasizing light and color as a dramatic force in his paintings. Russell apprenticed with accomplished landscape painter Robert Knudson during the years of 2009 to 2011. Russell Johnson states that during these years with Knudson, “he taught me that a painting of Nature should reflect not only how I see it, but how I feel about what I see. Creatively, I learned to interpret Nature according to what moves me.” Russell’s personal vision strikes an emotional chord through his expressive use of color