Robert Johnson, b., Hopewell, Virginia, (United States)
Robert Johnson's art echoes the classical respect for strong skillful drawing and the foundation of good painting. He notes, "I believe that drawing is the most important element in the foundation of realistic art. I have pursued drawing vigorously, often putting in twelve to fourteen hour days working at it. The Art Student's League of New York has been important to me in developing my draftsman skills. I first studied briefly with the late Robert Beverly Hale, probably the greatest instructor ever in anatomy and drawing, and later with Michael Burban, his successor at The Art Student's League."
After several years of practicing law, Johnson packed all of his belongings and headed for Europe. He spent two years living in the small rural German village of Kleiningersheim. "While in Kleiningersheim I learned German, read a lot and traveled to see the best art Europe had to offer. I feel that making the change in my life gave me confidence to make whatever changes might be necessary to live a fruitful life, including giving art my best effort.” The artists that Johnson admires include Rembrandt, Velasquez and Halsall. He has also been influenced by the nineteenth and early twentieth century painter Anders Zorn (Sweden), Joaquin Sorolla (Spain), William Merrit Chase (USA), Winslow Homer (USA), and by the contemporary teacher and master painter David Leffel.
While he has worked in pastels, watercolors and all drawing media, the majority of Robert’s works are done in oil. "For me, oil is the king of all mediums. It gives color and richness, a range of transparency with color.” Johnson said. "I love the beauty of the paint itself, the lushness and richness, color and texture. It's not shoveling the paint on the canvas that attracts me. It is the fact that in one painting you can have lush thickness in one part and a very thin area in another part”