Monday, June 18, 2012

Plein Air in the Studio

The First-ever Sighting of Johanssen!

What to my wondering eyes should appear---this morning---but Johanssen himself, together with his wee Scottie (who is presumably named Jock).

In all the years that I've had sightings of Johanssen's buildings, and faithfully recorded them in my paintings, I'd never actually seen him before.

But, despite this morning's sighting, I still can't say I've met him. Before I was able to walk around the pond to get to where I'd seen him standing, Jock gave a bark and they were off! 

Consequently, I haven't been able to ask him what those things in the center of the canvas are. Or were, more appropriately, as this morning there was only one left. It certainly seemed it could be a small, stone, watering trough for cattle. Not much mystery there. A number of people wrote to me about their guesses. Among them were several hay wagons, a jack-knifed semi, and the Y from the HOLLYWOOD sign in Los Angeles.

Today was about strengthening the values, introducing some color, and about endeavoring to effectively conjure a definite place. Johanssen himself needs real work...he was present for such a short time that it was difficult to capture him. He certainly appears to be younger than I would have thought.

Here are the three stages so far:

If he shows up again, tomorrow, I've got a lot of questions for him.


  1. Beautiful, beautiful painting. With Johanssen there to add scale to the mystery, I'd definitely say those objects are hay bales. Albeit long ones--as if the baler was set wrong, and spit out three that were too heavy to carry away, and that's why they were left behind.

  2. Fascinating! He's taller than I imagined and I rather wish he could have been persuaded to remain... Does he bear a certain resemblance to the figure of yourself, Sir, as captured by William Swan in the right corner photo on this page?... Do you think there could possibly be some arcane relation?

  3. Yes, I agree with Chris, there does seem to be an uncanny resemblance. Beautiful mysterious painting.

  4. I am so happy that you and all who believe the "coming of the Johanssen myth" has finally appeared. An added bonus, Jack the dog, is a new addition to the family, (not mentioned before.) I hope that they hang around in this painting...but, they can vanish in a wipe of LIQUIN to dash out their brief lives in the same spot, what a pity.

  5. He's not young, but all that building keeps him in good form. . .