Welcome to the world of local artist Steven Johnson. Entering into Studio 3, located within the Studios on the Park in Paso Robles, you will experience works by five different artists. One artist is Judy Lyon. Her works in watercolors are displayed on the wall right behind her drafting table. On the walls to the left and right are paintings by the Spencer family, including works of artistic insight by the late Harold Spencer and equally impressive works by his two sons, Eric and Mark. Opposite Judy Lyon's works your attention will be drawn to a rather large, almost Victorian, Bible scene titled Mark 5:24-34. The title tells you the source of Steven Johnson's own creative and spiritual foundation. This is the place where Steven creates works using a variety of media including charcoals, pastels, colored pencils and graphite.
Prepare to meet the artist: Steven Johnson might tell you how he has been an artist forever. "My passion for art has always existed regardless of where I was." He also might tell you how some of his earliest memories go back to being an eight-year-old sitting at a round coffee table in front of a black and white television with his older brother David. Both boys were drawing their own comic books creating intricate stories involving superheroes and their adventures. If you look closely at Steven's current portfolio you may still glimpse that early comic book influence.
Steven's roots in the Cambria region go back on his father's side to the 1860's in San Simeon. Even though he always felt a creative calling, as a young man he never really found employment as such. That was the way of life in Cambria during the late 60's and early 70's. Fortunately for us, he's now realized his gifts as an artist and illustrator.
Illustrators take words, rather than visual images, and interpret them into a pleasing two dimensional scene. Steven's current project is inspired by the writing of a singer/songwriter from Nashville. As of this writing he's been working for over a year on illustrations for a children's book, The Princess and the Fox, based on a song of the same name by Flo Paris Oakes. She's a multitalented singer-song writer and author born in Paso Robles and currently living in Nashville. "Her creative abilities astound me," claims Steven. "The depth of this story gives me an ocean of creative thought to draw from. Even though this is a children's book, the story brings vivid imagery and a wide open palette of emotions and circumstances to play with." Steven's works-in-progress never ceases to attract visitors to the studio-gallery. "Their enthusiastic reception to the drawings has helped spur me on to the finish line."
I am blessed to be able to contribute to this book," says Steven. "I've been diligent to offer the best I can to give visual life to this song and story." The book will include 14 works of Steven's art.
The public is invited to meet Steven, experience his creative world and see his beautiful illustrations for themselves at Studios on the Park, the nonprofit open studios art center now open daily at noon in downtown Paso Robles.