Finding Meaning in Art: Interview with Lynsey Johnstone

6 years ago

Lynsey Johnstone is an artist from South Devon, England, and was born in Scotland. Her plant themed art collections has been exhibited and praised at the Plymouth Hoe Art Fair in 2015. In 2016, she was invited to exhibit her works at the renowned RHS Garden Rosemoor.

OGP:Lynsey, your artworks first caught our eye in the many available because one of our members wanted to purchase a decorative painting as his wife’s birthday present. We have looked at over 300 paintings of different styles, and then we saw SAGE. The painting seemed very abstract at first, but upon closer observation the use of colour was very exquisite, including the glitters and the various transitions. It immediately brought us into a summer’s garden, as if we were really able to smell the grass and flowers.

Lynsey: Thank you! My free flowing colourful paintings reflect wild meadowlands from South Devon, England.  My intention is to create a mood of happiness and joy to the viewer. As I paint I create the texture effect of being surrounded by the landscape, adding depth to the scene. I love using a technique of flicking paint to create the chaos of wild grown grass and flower stems, creating a contradicting scene of picturesque pandemonium. The art materials I use are extremely important to me. I use a mixture of acrylics, inks, glazes, fine glitter and gold leaf in many forms of layers. My Paintbrushes, sponges, rags and my fingers are all used to create that sparkly finished look to reflect the beauty of nature.  

OGP:Impressionism often draws from everyday scenery and objects. It is painted on a large canvas, where the transition between light and shadows are detailed to demonstrate the impression of time. The colour theories taught in artistic institutions today are all based on the research of impressionists. Impressionism diverted from traditional art styles - it is more active and colourful - it was the beginning of contemporary art. Prominent impressionists include Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Cezanne, Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Edgar Degas. One of our all time favourite impressionists is Camille Pisarro. His artworks are seemingly common, but they are very engaging, especially the stippling style of his latter works. Each one is colourful, and communicates the thought rather than simple techniques. Pisarro’s artworks fulfill the emotional needs of his audience. How would you describe your artistic experience, Lynsey? What prompted you to become a professional artist?

Lynsey: I grew up in the rural setting of Dumfries & Galloway, South West Scotland before moving to South Devon during early adulthood to pursue my post-secondary career. I did not study art as my major, however, I loved painting and I often found being creative with my art brushes as an escape from the real world. I was lucky enough to have my artwork exhibited in a museum in Edinburgh for a period of time after getting A grades for my work. I have experimented over the years until I found a technique that was for me. Actually,  at first I only produced paintings for friends and family as a hobby for many years. As a mother and Registered Nurse my time to pursue my art was very limited. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago I have been able to give my attention to my art. I have met some great local artists, which opened opportunities for me and allowed me to present my artwork to the public and specific audiences alike.

OGP:A great artist must withstand various tests - the test of time, the test of environment, the test of desire, and the test of time. Artistic achievement comes at a great price because it is difficult to survive by selling artworks alone when his or her name is still unknown. Many prominent artists also endured hardships and struggles in their earlier career. A century ago, “art” belonged to only the nobility and religious groups; while today the media and other platforms have helped artists to better promote themselves. Nevertheless, it is still difficult to become known. The repeated cycle of creation, promotion, exhibition, competition, communication and affiliations simply does not stop. We admire people who can persevere, because these are the people who will ultimately succeed. Artists are no exception - they can only improve their techniques and expressions when they create continuously.

Lynsey:Yes, I have input an extensive effort in my artistic career. I was firstly involved in a weekend arts fair during the summer months along with another 20 local artists called The Hoe Art Fair. I was also very fortunate to have been invited to display my work in their local gallery. Since then I have had regular invitations to local art fairs and exhibitions. My greatest achievement so far was being able to exhibit my artworks at a renowned horticultural society RHS Garden Rosemoor in Devon, England. This was exciting as I able to display my artwork in the beautiful idyllic setting surrounded by many beautiful flowers.   

OGP:That is an amazing achievement! The RHS Garden Rosemoor exhibition could be described as the “Oscar of floriculture”. It was established in 1804, and is not only a global horticulture society, but is also famous for its charitable causes. The RHS Garden Rosemoor is best known for its annual Chelsea Flower Show, which is one of the largest flower expos in the world. It began in 1862, and was never cancelled except for during the wartimes.

Lynsey:Yes I have been extremely lucky. Over the past couple of years, I have been able to sell my artworks to several countries such as Spain, Berlin, Hong Kong and Dubai as well as through The Hoe Art Fair over the past couple of years. I would love to be able to have a successful art business and hold an art exhibition internationally, as I enjoy meeting new people who are always inspiring. I also hope to further my artistic education to be able to add a greater depth and quality to my art.

OGP:I believe that many collectors will be interested in your artworks after our interview today. One of OGP’s ability is to discover the hidden treasures. Building a collection requires both wealth and vision. The former is the foundation of our interest, and the latter is accumulated from experience. Wisdom is acquired through time and environment, similar to how gems shine through polishing. In 2011, an artwork by QI Baishi broke the auction record with 425.5 million yuan. QI is a prominent contemporary artist born in 1864 to an agricultural family. He became a carpenter at 14, working while learning how to draw on the side. He studied under renowned artists such as XIAO Xiang’gai, HU Qinyuan, CHEN Shaofan, and WANG Xiangqi, and only quit being a carpenter when he had the ability to survive by solely selling his artworks. After he was 40 years old, he travelled around the world, viewing the greatest sights and meeting the most inspirational people. In 1922, QI published his artworks overseas with the help of his friends; earning his recognition from the government as well as the art society. He was then employed as the honourary professor of China Arts Institution and the Vice President of China Artists Association. QI was awarded as the Honourary Graduate of the Academy of Arts and Sciences by the President of East Germany. He was also awarded the International Peace Prize by the World Peace Council in 1956. One’s life may be short, but great art lasts. The artist decides the inspirations and how they can express themselves in the limited lifetime.

Lynsey:I am always thankful to those who have helped me in one way or another. I am also intrigued by Eastern artworks, such as those displayed in your collections. Eastern Artwork has a unique magical energy, it resonates a warm energy to the viewer. Similarly, I like to create artworks that bring warmth to its audience. I do so with sparkles, textures, and enchanting colours. I like to experiment with my techniques to produce unique styles which sparkle and whisper love, peace and beauty which reflects nature.
I want to create artworks that shout out to its audience, who are drawn to its energy, which resonates with the feeling of happiness and serenity of the painting.

OGP:Yes,  affection is what I feel from all of your artworks. Landscape paintings reflect aspirations; plant paintings convey ethics and conduct. Artists often choose a specific subject for their creations, and similarly your flowers are revelations of some intriguing emotions. Many historical literature and artistic masterpieces were flower-themed. For instance, Shakespeare wrote in Romeo and Juliet: “That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet.” The rose symbolized love and praise, as well as Romeo’s loyalty. Eastern expressions are more subtle. One of our senior members, who is now 87 year old, is a knowledgeable collector with over 40 years of experience. His collection include over 500 contemporary artworks, which is enough to display in a private museum. He is an admirer of bamboos; a bamboo forest is seen at the entrance of his residence. Bamboos symbolizes nobility, humility, and perseverance. In China, plum flowers, orchids, bamboos, and chrysanthemums not represent the four seasons respectively, but also the characteristics of a noble personality. Plum flowers are noble; orchids are elegant; bamboos are humble; and chrysanthemums are pure. Flowers, grassfields, rocks, and trees appear repeated in artworks by different artists. Our member once said to his favourite painting, “I am only a passenger in its journey. I am very satisfied to have the opportunity to take care of it and pass its story on to its next rightful owner.” To feel the emotional satisfaction, the collector needs to understand the artwork and be able to connect with the artist through the work. The artistic and cultural value of the art is lost when one overlooks its meanings.

Thank you Lynsey for joining us today to discuss her experience and her art. Please continue to engage in  OGP,

* By OGP Editors / Lynsey Johnstone Provides File Photos


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