By Ron VandenBoom
Diane Davis Johnson is the fifth of 12 children, but she is the only one of the 12 that has had her artwork displayed by the Cincinnati Art Club, the Farbach-Warner Nature Reserve, the Miami Whitewater Forest, and at the Winton Woods Nature Center.
Now her work is displayed at the Heritage Center Art Gallery.
Clean, simple, bright, and strong in contrasting colors, Johnson's work is also memories and observations.
"I feel that my paintings reflect the memories of the language I spoke as a child," Johnson said, remembering a time when her family and the neighbors teased her calling it "bird talk." "I was six-years-old before I spoke any English."
Johnson studied commercial art at the Ohio Visual Arts Institute in Cincinnati, Ohio, and has freelanced for several publishing companies. She has illustrated 24 childrens' books with eight being coloring books. Johnson has also done packaging design for several companies and has done medical illustrations for the Cincinnati Children's Hospital.
Johnson has also taught commercial art at the Antonelli College in Cincinnati for 11 years and has also taught painting at Chatfield College for the Ford Motor Company.
The works currently displayed at the Heritage Center are much more personal than her commercial endeavors. They reflect a warmth of heart while at the same time reflecting the power of her personal story.
"When I paint, it feels as if I break through the bonds of time and density," she said. "There I experience pure abstract thought using light, color, and form as tools to reflect my passion for painting people. In this place, my heart song of innocence and freedom is expressed. I find it very sacred ... an honor."
Johnson's paintings will be on display in the Gallery through the end of August. There is no admission charge to view Johnson's works.