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Workshop in Gig Harbor, Washington, and Judging a Show

Massive Mount Rainierfrom Gig Harbor I was excited when the Northwest Pastel Society invited me to visit Gig Harbor and Tacoma, Washington, to judge its annual international open exhibition and to teach a workshop. Besides the fact that...Show More Summary

Your May Horoscope! by Crystal “Kitty” Shimski

Transcribed by guest contributor Jennifer Coates / Kitty divides her time between New York City and Montauk. She is a freelance Intuitive Technique Specialist and part-time Trance Inducer. She was recently certified in Trauma Re-alignment...Show More Summary

Roadtrip: Beacon, NY

Beacon is best known in the art community as the home of Dia:Beacon, but there are plenty of other things to do in town. Karlyn Benson, owner of Matteawan Gallery (where my solo show opens on Saturday, May 9, 6-9pm) has put together this list of other interesting places in the neighborhood. Show More Summary

"New Social Situations" opens in Beacon on Saturday

This Saturday, May 9, please join me for the opening of "New Social Situations," my solo show at Karlyn Benson's Matteawan Gallery in Beacon, NY. The show features small work from the past few years--from the time I was subletting space at the Elizabeth Foundation through paintings made in DUMBO this past year. Show More Summary

Art and Film: Hell and high fashion

By Guest Contributor Jonathan Stevenson / Kurt Cobain, the prince of grunge who took his own life in 1994 at age 27, would have disdained haute couture, and newly anointed Christian Dior creative director Raf Simons would have disparaged Cobain’s thrift-shop dress sense. Show More Summary

On procrastinating: Gwyneth Leech

"Two new directions began to develop as I was winding down a portrait series in 2010. One involved daily drawing and painting on used paper coffee cups. Stalled in the studio, I initially experienced this habit as procrastination--until I began embracing it as a highly generative art form. Show More Summary

Focus: Melodie Provenzano

Last year Laura Hutson wrote in Nashville Scene that Melodie Provenzano’s playful paintings "land somewhere between Jeff Koons kitsch and Takashi Murakami cute...bridging the tricky gap between commercial and accessible." I'm looking...Show More Summary

Report: "Command-Z" at Improvised Showboat

Improvised Showboat, a curatorial project developed by artists Zachary Keeting and Lauren Britton, mounted its seventh one-night show this past weekend in my new DUMBO studio at 55 Washington Street. I gave Keeting and Britton the basic idea: "Command-Z" would include work that reflected our increasing devotion to digital tools and online life. Show More Summary

Onward to Tacoma and Gig Harbor, Washington

Storm over the Jemez Mountains in New MexicoOne reason I love New Mexico: Clouds! I've left Santa Fe, and early tomorrow morning, I'll be leaving New Mexico. I'm flying to Tacoma, where I'll be teaching a three-day oil and pastel studio...Show More Summary

Santa Fe Painting Retreat, Part 7

Master Painter Albert Handell's Oil Palette It's hard to believe, but our painting retreat in Santa Fe is now just about over. Our last full day of painting included a visit to Albert Handell's studio. What a way to end the week!But first, after an early breakfast, we headed over to the Randall Davey Audubon Center and Sanctuary on Upper Canyon Road. Show More Summary

Santa Fe Painting Retreat, Day 6

Springtime at El Delirio 11x14 oil by Michael Chesley Johnson Earlier in the week, we discovered a location that seemed extra special and secret. The School of Advanced Research (SAR) is behind a gate off Garcia Street, and from the road, it doesn't look like much. Show More Summary

Santa Fe Painting Retreat, Day 5

Pecos National Historical Park We had a special field trip ahead of us today, so we were up early for breakfast and critiques. Our destination: the Pecos National Historical Park and the wild Pecos River itself.The jewel of the Pecos...Show More Summary

Santa Fe Painting Retreat, Day 4

Painting El Cuarto de Familia (Reception Room) at El Rancho de las Golondrinas As predicted, morning came cold and clear. When I stepped out to walk the dog and listen to the birds, I was surprised to see a thin, grey layer of frost decorating the cars. Show More Summary

Santa Fe Painting Retreat, Part 3

In Lamy, New Mexico The storm system that affected our first day parked itself over west Texas and continued to spin clouds our way. Although it wasn't raining or snowing, it was heavily overcast. The tops of the Sangre de Cristo mountains were hidden in clouds. Show More Summary

Santa Fe Painting Retreat - Part 2

Dog with a View on Delgado Street One of the things I love about New Mexico, especially in the spring, is the unpredictable weather. Who would have thought, with the lilacs and wisteria blooming, that we would have had snow our first morning?We all noticed when we rose the heavy clouds hanging over the Sangre de Cristo mountains. Show More Summary

Santa Fe Retreat - Part 1

Springtime in Paris Santa Fe Every year, I lead a weeklong painting retreat for advanced painters. I try to make it a true immersion experience in which the only language spoken is Art. We paint, and when we're not painting, we talk about art, or we visit museums, galleries or the studios of other artists, and we critique each other's work. Show More Summary

Fluency in Painting

Thomas Mann, author of Der Zauberberg (The Magic Mountain)and winner of the Nobel prize for Literature, 1929.I've never read his famous book in the original German. Learning to paint is a lot like learning a language. After a great deal of practice, one becomes fluent. Show More Summary

Web world: The New Museum's 2015 Triennial

Entering the New Museum's 2015 Triennial "Surround Audience" is like stepping into someone else’s search history. If you’re passionate about the same information that he or she is, you might find the work fascinating. If not, you may feel as though you’re laboring through a reading assignment, or worse, correcting homework. Show More Summary

Peter Halley: Hyperreal

When I stopped by the Florence Griswold Museum during a snowstorm in mid-March to see Peter Halley’s retrospective, the glowing neon color and interlocking geometric forms – what he has called cells, prisons (that is, rectangular sets of prison bars), and conduits – had transformed the museum into a dazzling chamber of vibrating light. Show More Summary

Website Temporarily Offline

For those of you trying to get to my website,, my web host is temporarily offline due to a problem with its network provider. In the meantime, you can go to my mirror site: I'll post a note here when the full site is up and running again. --- Michael Chesley Johnson, PSA MPAC PSNM

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