Paintings for you: Local artist shows visions of Grand County in exhibition
Marie Johannes seems to live by a singular motto: it’s all good.
The local artist currently has an ongoing exhibit called Paintings For You open at the Cozens Ranch Museum, a segmented four-part series that captures the natural beauty of Grand County, and dazzles visitors with a masterful range and blend of colors.
“What was interesting about the show and putting is up is that I got to see all of my work hung together,” said Johannes. “As an artist I could evaluate it differently by seeing a lot of it together. People always seem to like my color sensitivity and the way I bring colors together. That usually comes from my background.”
Johannes grew up in Michigan where she was an avid sewer. She studied interior design at Michigan State University, where she also took several art classes and learned to paint in watercolor labs.
After graduation she opened her own design studio in the Detroit area, which she owned for ten years. After her husband, Bob, retired about fifteen years ago the two moved out to Fraser, where the surrounding nature and landscapes became a major influence in Johannes’ work. Today she paints primarily landscapes, taking to her own back yard for inspiration.
“When my husband and I had looked at the property we stood out there, and I literally felt like the trees were just embracing us,” said Johannes. “Those trees grow up in the rocks on the pass. It’s incredible.
“The flowers, animals and insects are all just happy doing their thing. But they’re not talking. They’re not asking for anything or expecting anything. They’re just there.”
Paintings For You is a four-wall exhibition, with each featuring a different type of artwork. The first is a collection of works displaying images of Grand County, while another showcases paintings Johannes did while traveling. There is also a wall showing off a number of winter scenes.
The final wall shows a series of plein air paintings, paintings that were done out of studio, surrounded by the nature that makes up their subject matter.
“With all the classes I’ve taken I felt right away an affinity for painting outside, because nobody was next to me,” said Johannes. “You’re just in your own peace and comfort, trying to capture something that feels beautiful to you.”
Johannes also has a background in teaching art. She taught a clay class in Michigan, and has also taught at the Cozens Ranch Museum and the Fraser Community Center. This weekend Johannes led a “play shop” at her home studio in Fraser, inviting guests in for an encouragement class wherein participants got to experiment with numerous different types of paints and materials.
Paintings For You will be open at the Cozens Ranch Museum until Oct. 21, and a portion of all proceeds will go to the Grand County Historic Association.
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