Elizabeth Johnson's Creations

Artist’s Biography

I have painting in my blood. I need to paint like I need water. I need horses like I need air. They both nourish my soul. I cannot recall a time that I was not dabbling around in color. I love the effect that colors have on me and the feel of paint on the brush. I am driven by an inner need, to choose the brushes, mix the paints, lay down the new colors. The result is beautiful, but it is the process that is therapeutic. As a result, I have quite a few paintings. I would love to share them with people who enjoy them.

I have the resume of a typical Preppy, but the soul of a country girl. I began life on the Main Line, outside of Philadelphia. Although I don’t remember much, it seems that my roots show: my nickname is Muffy; I play polo whenever possible; I went to Harvard; and I was in the Social Register, until I got kicked out for marrying outside the blue-blood gene pool. But I don’t see myself that way at all!

I spent my most influential, developmental years on Maui, and that is where I call Home. It is a place of such beauty that I nearly drive right off the road, I am so captivated by it. When I am home, I am among friends and family who have known me forever.

I grew up on the back of a flashy, Morgan-thoroughbred gelding named Diablo. With me clinging to his bare back, we galloped like the wind, all over the slopes of Haleakala. I would ride into Makawao, a tiny town wrapped around one intersection, and tie my horse outside Komoda’s store to get a doughnut and a coke, after school. Diablo and I competed in gymkhanas, little rodeos, horse shows in every discipline. We participated in parades and brandings. Then we discovered polo. I was the first woman member of the Maui Polo Club. I loved playing “jungle ball,” which is what we termed our unruly version of the game, with the cowboys and country gentlemen of Maui. It tapped some spark of Red Sonja or perhaps an incarnation of an ancient Khan returning, victorious, to Karakorum. Those were the glory years.

The inherent beauty of the island and the joyful freedom of my youth were important influences on my artistic development. I was also surrounded by some of the best art anywhere. I absolutely adore many of the local artists; Betty Hay Freeland’s work is my favorite. I would love to attain the level of looseness, freedom and massing of paint that she uses in her paintings.

Then, I went from Paradise to Harvard. It was really cold and terribly difficult. I was certain that I was the admissions board’s mistake – to this day I remain skeptical. After grinding through my required courses, I was able to take classes with some truly amazing artists. Professors like Harvey Quoitman, Toshihiro Katayama and his brilliant assistant Marius, Rothman and so many others whose names have faded in the elapsing time. They pried me loose, had me exercise both sides of my brain, look at things differently. It was fabulous. I have developed a style, which apparently permeates, in my work. A style that people seem to like.

After graduating from Harvard, I pursued another degree in Exotic Animal Training and Management. I enjoyed training all kinds of wild and exotic animals for the movie business until I became pregnant with my first son. I followed my husband to Paris for the first time. We lived there for about a year. My first son was born in Paris. My second son was born in Los Angeles and my third in Orlando, Florida… a kid in every port, a husband with a mobile job.

My muse really posessed me when we moved to Paris the second time. We lived in a tiny village in the countryside near Meaux. I was captivated by the beauty of the place, the softness of the air, the quality of the light. I was quite prolific. I also learned fun framing and matting techniques from a 2-year course I took in Meaux. I really hated to leave.

I am back in Los Angeles for the next decade at least, until the youngest boy finishes high school. I am thriving under the peace that stability of address provides me. I have continued to paint and ride. I joined the Santa Clarita Artist Association and enjoyed the demonstrations, classes, and shows until my boys’ activities got in the way. With so much beauty in the Southern California area, and annual trips home, I will be able to indulge in my love of mixing colors and painting for years to come.