Brenda Banda Johnson is a long stand artist at Motion Gallery, recognized for her impressionist impasto palette knife paintings. Her pieces are textured and tactile, without a great deal of intentional detail. “It surprises me sometimes how detailed some of them look, given that I do everything with the large knife”, she tells us, admitting that the reason for the details, is the technique she uses on her approach to blend in colour, which can create the impression of more details.
Initially inspired by Mya Evantov’s work, then seeing the incredible texture she was able to do with the palette knife, is what got Brenda excited and started on her painting career.
Nowadays, much of Brenda’s inspiration comes from nature, and whatever aspect of it is currently capturing her imagination. She says, “at the moment wild skies, macro views of botanicals, waves, mineral deposits left by water on the rocks. Sometimes it’s the texture of bark of trees. I tend toward scenes that are not too perfect, flowers that are not too precise, things that are a bit crooked, and scarred”. In most of her artworks, she tries to capture texture on canvas in an almost sculptural way, and almost anything with red in it.
Brenda took an oil painting class in high school and has since attended art demonstrations, and colour theory classes, but besides these instructions she is primarily a self-taught artist. Given her limited time for painting, she tends towards online tutorials to learn how to work with different mediums, and tells us she has learned from her mistakes.
She has come into her own over the last seven years, experimenting with different pouring mediums, retarders, different resins, and of course different brands of paint. She tends to, however, do her own thing and at times has ended up using new mediums, like resin, but applying it in her own way.
“Recently I’ve been working on a lot of pieces with the sky as the focal point. I’ve been fascinated with trying to capture motion in big wild skies, as well as oceans and rivers. I’ve also been doing a number of pieces with really smooth reflective water, and using resin coating as a technique to get a really wet look in the water. In combination with resin, half or more of each piece is still done with a palette knife to create the texture.”
She admits it would be great to be rich and famous through art, but as long as people keep buying her work, and she is enjoying painting, she is happy. She adds that this is the most fun work she has ever done, and is grateful that there are people who appreciate her art.
There is no shortage of places you can view and buy Brenda’s art. For starters, you can come into Motion Gallery. She also has artworks at Galleria in Inglewood, as well as at her home studio, and actively shows her work at a number of local shows. These include, Calyx Distinctive Arts, Beacon Original Arts, Art Market at the Telus Convention Centre, the Leighton Art Center and Cultivation of Art at Vale’s Greenhouse in Black Diamond. This year Brenda has pieces at the Crowsnest Pass Public art gallery for their juried show celebrating Canada’s 150th.
You can see more of Brenda’s art on her website at www.bandajohnsonart.com, through Art Match which is an art consulting business at www.artmatch.ca, on Facebook as Brenda Banda Johnson fine art, and on Instagram as @bandaJohnsonart.
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Written by Sandra Montgomery
Edited by Renee Laferriere