Photo by Dante Fontana, © Style Media Group.
Janeen Meyer-Johanson was born with a passion for painting.
Following her instinctive creativity from a young age, she went on to become an art teacher. When she moved with her husband to Germany, she continued expanding her craft by studying under acclaimed artists, including Andreas Gorke, while raising her family. She has been a prominent artist in the Sacramento area since returning to the states in 2000.
AB: How and why did you start making art? Did you always paint or did you try other mediums first?
JMJ: I’ve loved to draw since I could hold a pencil. I got into pen and ink when I lived in Europe, but I love a big white canvas waiting for my oils the most.
AB: Your preferred tool is a palette knife rather than a brush. Can you tell me what a palette knife affords you that gets lost in brushwork?
JMJ: The palette knife feels like it’s a part of my hand. I love how it can give a rough, aged look to buildings (and cowboy boots!), while the knife allows me to paint water transparently and gives an edge to the foam as it hits the shore.
AB: Have you ever abandoned a piece? How do you know when a work is finished or if it ever will be?
JMJ: I always finish my paintings or paint over them. I usually “see” the painting in my mind before I do it. I have a pretty good idea of what I want to convey.
AB: Is there a painting that you’re most proud of? Why?
JMJ: The paintings I’m most proud of are the ones people have taken into their homes. I’ve been told that the paintings bring feelings of peace, calm and joy. Of course, being able to show the cowboy boot all over town was incredible (the image appeared on banners for the Folsom Pro Rodeo), if not surreal, as were people wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the electric guitar I painted for Folsom LIVE. Those were major highlights for me.
AB: How did you decide to work mainly in oils instead of acrylics?
JMJ: Acrylics dry too fast for me. I love the texture and shine of oils. When I paint water with a knife, for example, the thick oil paint moves across the canvas. It just flows.
AB: Where can the public view your work?
JMJ: I have several pieces for sale hanging at Willow Café & Sweetery in Folsom. I was showing at Petra Vineyard’s Wine Gallery on Sutter Street up until December, which I may do again. My paintings, including those available to purchase and those that have sold, are also on my website (janeensoilpaintings.tumblr.com).
AB: What would you most like to say to aspiring young artists?
JMJ: Keep drawing, sculpting, whatever it is that moves you. No one can take that passion away—it’s something that will give you an inner calm and incredible joy—and when you touch others through the work that you love doing, well, that’s magic.
Visit janeensoilpaintings.tumblr.com for more information.