Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The moment of truth.

The first printing of The Woodcutter and The Most Beautiful Tree by Robb N. Johnston (me?!) will be delivered TO ME on WEDNESDAY (tomorrow?!). Message or email me ASAP if you want copies before Christmas so we can sort out shipping, delivery, or pickup.  

I hope they get here on time.

Note: the shipping is going to be more expensive than the book if you want it by the 25th. :-/

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

L to R: Balthazaar, Kaspar, Melchior, Jesus

Special thanks to Mr. Shawn Clone for advising on the Greek; although I'm preeeeeeetty sure I went ahead and screwed it up anyway :-D  This took about 10-15 hours total (including drying times) and pretty much consumed my waking thoughts for all of last week.  I want to get some Christmas cards printed with this image.  We'll see what happens...I haven't done ANY of my shopping yet. >.<

If you're interested in some, get at me on the gmail or the FB.

"The Magi" or "Beards in the Desert"

Watercolor, ink, acrylic on 16" x  20" 140 lb./300 gsm cold-pressed watercolor block. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Commissioned piece for a friend

...to give to one of HER friends.  This represents a fresh imagining the Illuminated Meat I have created in past works.

"Meat and Mushrooms II." 

It's a larger piece and was a lot of fun to work on.   I dearly hope they both enjoy it.

...that green glass still needs work, though.  There are currently two commissions in the works right now (thankfully, I'm on vacation until the end of February!)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

What to expect:

This is the cover design I decided to go with for The Woodcutter and The Most Beautiful Tree.  I did the painting specifically for the cover, as opposed to using a page already found in the book.  I kinda like the simple, retro-ish feel to it (layout, font, color, design) and I'm greatly anticipating seeing it in print.  I've seen the galley copies and, I can tell you, the print version leaves the picture ^above^ in the shade.  the back cover is taken from the book and will remain a mystery until the release :-D

If you haven't already, please join my event on Facebook "The Woodcutter and the Most Beautiful Tree" by Robb N. Johnston.  It's an ongoing event page that'll help me notify everyone when the book is here and available.  Also, please keep checking back here for updates and the such.


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

More pics of the cafe

Welp, I'll be taking  'er down this weekend.  the "Brains to Hands to Eyes" exhibit was a lot of fun to work on and was an awesome experience and a fantastic opportunity for me.  Thanks again to everyone that made it to Cafe Verde to see it at some point...I hope something you saw managed to connect to you in some way or another.

Now, the task is to take down the show, get digital files made of a few pieces, and make prints for people who wanted them.  Two original pieces were reserved...which feels amazing.  One piece was stolen...which I have mixed feelings about.  Another big thanks to Kayj of Community Rebirth for giving me the opportunity.  Check her out on Facebook, she's doing some cool stuff in the Ypsi/Arbor area.


More as it happens.
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Friday, November 19, 2010

Pics from the opening

Cafe Verde was my assigned venue.
"Brains to Hands to Eyes" was the name of the exhibition.

I got the venue through Kayj at Community Rebirth.  Facebook 'em.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Exhibition opening after-action review

What an amazing night!

Dinner with Elin and the fam at Seva in Ann Arbor followed by 2 hours of friends and family in a PACKED Cafe Verde.  The music was great and fit the occasion perfectly.   It was so touching to see so many people come out to support the show.   The family came from Rockford, the bro drove-in from Lansing, the dudes trekked it out from GR, and Bakerites (former housemates) & NAPpers (current workmates) made it out as well.  Elin also did an excellent job of promoting my event and got lots of her science folk away from their microscopes for the evening.

If you missed the opening of "Brains to Hands to Eyes", the artwork will be up through the first week in December, or so.  The exhibition has a little over 20 pieces hanging.  Here are the three pieces that I made specifically for the exhibition (also the crowd favorites, as far as I could tell)..

"God's Bear" 
16" x 20"  $475 (Signed/numbered prints available soon...price TBD)

16" x 20"  $475 (Signed/numbered prints available soon...price TBD)

"Welcome Home"
16" x 20"  $475 (Signed/numbered prints available soon...price TBD)

Thanks to Community Rebirth for arranging the whole thing, Cafe Verde for being such good sports, and Billy and Kyle for rocking so hard with that muzik.  More pictures to follow!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Saturday looms large

Elín helped me hang the first round of exhibition pieces at Café Verde after work.  I was exhausted,, hungry, and covered in ash and kerosene from the day's prescribed fire...but it was still a magical time.  It was so cool to see my work on the walls, and also a bit surreal.

I think the final total will be around 20 pieces representing a pretty broad range of media and subject matter.  Three of the pieces are never-before-seen, made specifically for the show.  The exhibition will be called "Brains to Hands to Eyes."

Still on the to-do list:

- Hang 5 remaining pieces (the big ones...frames with glass)
- Get prints of a particular 2-page spread from the book.  Frame and hang.
- Make price list (very scary proposition, indeed)
- Other things that escape me now...and will probably remain elusive until 6:54pm on Saturday.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Art Battle post-game review

The LLIC Art Battle at Savoy was last night.  The 72-hours leading-up to the event was a mess of emails, changing venues, uncertainty, and pants-peeing; the event itself was a blast and surprisingly well-attended.

Heather, Cristina, and I were on an elevated stage off to the side of the main stage and were surprised to find we'd be painting a board whose shape could only immediately suggest some sort of marshmallow or cloud.  Inspiration was slow-coming and we spit-balled for about an hour, tossing around different ideas.  As 9 o'clock rolled-around, we decided to paint a portrait divided into 3, so we could each have an area to work on.  I started painting first and we just kinda rotated shifts...

...gin, vodka, whiskey, whiskey...

Is it already 1 am!?

The music had been bangin', the people were great (so many friends and co-workers showed-up), and the 15 teams participating had brought their C-or-better games.  The votes were tallied from the audience and...drum-roll...WE GOT 4TH PLACE!!  It was an awesome experience and I'm proud with what we put together.  All the pieces will be auctioned-off early next year.

I'm looking at another laaaaate night tonight and I have neither nap'd nor caffeinated.  Time to get something energetic.

Me, Cristina Mezuk, and Heather Herrera

(Can you guess which bit I did??? :-D)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


This is an ART BATTLE...!!!  Heather, Cristina, and I will be a team and have 4(!) hours to paint.  We'll be competing against some other teams for some other prizes.  We're gonna make this a 100% improvisation-type job, so we'll see how much of a bad idea THAT turns-out to be.  I've also been getting some CRAZY poison ivy reactions lately which have resulted in my left arm being colonized by no-less than 3 distinct demons.  The most worrisome for Friday's event is the one called "Infektion" and his little stooge: "swelling."

Uh oh.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Halloween!!! ii

Swamp Thing!! Anybody remember him?

Me neither.
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Happy Halloween!!!

I think this stencil is just about kaput. Had a good run, though: 4 covers so far and maybe 1 or 2 more before official retirement.
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Friday, October 22, 2010

can't WAIT to roll around town with these on.

I'm really starting to like spray paint. Krylon's Fusion line works on plastics and has a pretty neat selection of colors; I'm especially pleased with how the gradient turned-out. I tried to minimize and simplify the Sharpie work so it'll be easier to touch-up as the finer line-work fades. I gave my previous set of wheel covers to Big Matt after he trued my wheel following a little bang-up at polo a few weeks ago.

I still have 2 blank discs of corrugated plastic and a head full of corrugated ideas. I'm thinking some sort of crest or cost-of-arms for Ann Arbor bike polo. We shall see.
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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pressprize prints available

SIGNED, NUMBERED print of the painting that won the 2010 Grand Rapids Press 'Pressprize.'  Entirely decent reproduction on some of the most satisfactory paper available.  I've gotten countless requests for prints (actually, just the 1...thanks Mrs. H!) and I figured maybe some other folk might also be keen on a little slice of local ArtPrize something-or-other.

Paper: 17" x 11"
Image: 15" x 11"

I'll get 50 of these guys, individually signed and numbered.  

$25 each, shipped to you in a tube.  If you'd like one, hit me with an email at robertnjohnston@gmail.com or on Facebook so as we can work-out the details.  
In your email or FB message, please use the subject: "Pressprize print"

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Front cover finished

I finished the cover illustration for "The Woodcutter and the Most Beautiful Tree" earlier this week and took it to the printer to get some digital scans and a print.  Now, hopefully, I can start working on getting the book to press.  

I think I'd like to have the text off to one side, like this:

"Anansi the Spider" and "Arrow to the Sun," both by Gerald McDermott, were two of my favorite books as a child and remain great sources of inspiration for me as one who aspires to be an artist, author, and illustrator.  The illustrations are beautifully done (Caldecotts all day, son) and the stories are sweet and simple re-tellings of old folktales.  If you've not read them, do yourself a favor and check them out; they are timeless classics.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Also... :-)

We made it downtown for ArtPrize.  It was so cool to see the PressPrize design out and about.


Elín and I went to Artprize this weekend with my sister and her boyfriend.  As of this writing, the contest has been narrowed down to 10 finalists from the original 1700+.  I was extremely impressed by the quality of work (for the most part) and it generated some interesting conversation with friends and family (Bigger = better?, art vs. craft, etc.).  My favorite venues were the Grand Rapids Art Museum and the Public Museum.  Some of my favorite pieces:

 This was an installation by Melissa Leitch.  She's the mother of a childhood friend and, as you can see, an amazing artist.  Awesome job, Mrs. L!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Portrait iii

 Another Beksinski-inspired portrait.  This painting is unique in that it was my first-ever experience with india ink.  The stuff is inCREDible.  Here are a couple images to get the general idea across.  Full pic to follow.

I also finished a commissioned piece for an old friend.  I'm not sure if she'd want me to post the image on the ol' blog, but if she gives her permission, I'll post some pics in the near future.