Artist Spotlight

Michelle Johnson Views Her Art as Extensions of Herself



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Loud laugher, lover of cheese, coffee and bubbly water drinker. Momma to two assy doggos and one assy Guinea pig. Happily married to a dreamy, rad dude for 20+ years. She dislikes beets, lime Jell-o, and puzzles.

How do you live a creative life? How do you live a creative life?

I make art daily. I wake up 2-3 hours before I go to work, grab a big mug of coffee and sit down at my art table and work on whatever is calling my attention or what I feel drawn to the most. When I get home from work or sometimes later in the evening, I go back to my table and pick up where I left off.  Some people go and workout at the gym everyday. I make art. This is my workout.

I carry small R2-D2 wallet in my purse so I could allow more room for my travel art kit and a passport Traveler’s Notebook, and a second journal if needed.  I take my journal out wherever I go. I also go on artist dates with myself. My TN helps me record the little bits of my life and adventures I have along the way. I also knit, crochet, and read.

Do you put your life into your art journal? Or is it focused on technique?

Whatever I am thinking, feeling, processing, loving, exploring, experimenting with goes into my art journals. They are an extension of me and how I live my life so yes I do. My technique is whatever I feel like at the moment, I don’t just focus on one because my creative brain is constantly going in all kind of directions.

Picture of my creative art brain:

What is your biggest barrier to creating? How do you get over that hurdle?

Second guessing myself, not trusting my process, the creative blahs, spending too much time on the internet.

Resting from my art practice when I need to. Remembering to trust myself and what I know. Put my phone down. Smear acrylic with my fingers, brush some watercolors on a journal page, make some marks with a Posca, etc. Sometimes I will do something else I enjoy like reading or knitting. These are all ways I can show up for myself in my art practice when barriers arise or if I feel “blocked”.

What has been your biggest lesson when it comes to creating art?

Play, try, experiment, learn, push, have fun. Last spring I fell in love with sketching and drawing, especially botanicals (Thank you Alicia!)

During the fall, I had a blast exploring the art of collage . Your practice, and your art is powerful stuff because it is an extension of you. Be open to the process of learning and trying something new, play around and explore with new techniques and tools.  Ask yourself questions like “What happens if I…?” or “How can I ,,,?” “What would it look like if I …?” Be scientific, test out your ideas. PLAY! Incorporating play into my art practice has served me well and has taught me a lot about what I enjoy and what I want to invest more time in exploring. Playing has also helped me weed out things I didn’t care for. Everyone should play, it is totally worth it.

✨ Free class for creatives ✨

In How to Start Art Journaling, we’ll walk you through the art of art journaling, including how to start doing (🙌) and make your very first art journal page (even if you’ve never even opened an art journal before).

What is your favourite art journal page you’ve ever made? Why is it your favourite?

I equate this question to asking parents “Which child is your favorite and why?” I don’t have a “favorite” journal page because they all teach me something about myself, even the crappy art pages and this makes them all valid and important to me.

Have you ever actively disliked a page you’ve made?

Yes.  What did you do with it? Stop trying to make it conform to what I think it should be and just listen to it, or sometimes I will repurpose it into something else. I know I am not going to like everything I make and that is okay. This keeps things interesting because if I loved everything I made and thought it was perfect I cannot imagine moving forward in my practice. Making crappy art keeps me on my toes and makes me stronger in that I want to keep trying, keep practicing, and keep learning. So, thanks crappy art that I have made for reminding me to keep trying and to appreciate the kickass stuff I do make.

Have you ever been through artist block? What did you do to overcome it?

Yes, I have. It is tough when a block hits you however I just remind myself that it is temporary. In addition to what I shared about overcoming barriers, sometimes I try to push through it. Other times  I will look at Instagram posts I have saved or scroll through my camera roll to see if something sparks interest. I also think that sometimes you just have to take a break from making art and let the process of rest recharge you. Binging on seasons of The Office, Parks and Rec or watching Star Wars IV-VI (I blocked out 1-3 because Jar Jar Binks is a hard no for me) can also be helpful.  I am learning to trust myself that when I need a break, it is okay to take one and trust that my art practice is there waiting for me when I return.

What’s the best art advice you’ve ever received?

“Be good. Work hard. Have fun.” – My Dad

“I don’t need anyone but me to tell me I am an artist.” – Frankie Bergstein

What does community do for your creating?

Inspires me, challenges me,  lifts me up, holds me accountable, fills my cup. I love the friendships I have made in this community, they have been transformative.  I document the funny stuff we share in Hangouts in a small red journal and periodically read them during Hangouts. I anticipate this book will be a bestseller one day, everyone will want to buy a copy and it will make everyone laugh. Hard.

Who would you like to celebrate in the Get Messy community?

Lindsey Soulsby, Molly Anthony, Gilly Welch

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Michelle Johnson

Loud laugher, lover of cheese, coffee and bubbly water drinker. Momma to two assy doggos and one assy Guinea pig. Happily married to a dreamy, rad dude for 20+ years. She dislikes beets, lime Jell-o, and puzzles.

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