New Mexico painter William Johnston leaped into his artistic career later in life. Using movement as the guiding force for his vibrant and bold color choices, Johnston exhibits dream-like abstract expressionist canvases. He embraces Native American mantras and practices as a form of elevating his creative process as an overall mind, body, spirit experience. His work delivers both modern and traditional approaches as he highlights methods that inspire and provoke emotion.
What are you currently focusing on?
My current focus is on creating dynamic abstracts in the style of Jackson Pollock. Most of my new paintings I call stick paintings. This is a technique where I use Native American arrow chaffs dipped in special oil paint to decorate larger canvases while applying water and other oil ingredients while moving the canvas in rhythm to Native American and Gregorian Chants. This is a whole-body experience and creates wonderful dynamic art forms.
Have you experienced any significant changes in your work this last year?
“My work is always changing. I am using more human forms like Lady on ‘Monet’s Bridge and painting of Vincent Van ‘Gogh’s self-portraits. I work at self-improvements striving to improve my artistic ability and applying my artwork to clothes and personal items as shown on my web site, wrjart.com, through VIDA. I am president of Fairview Oklahoma Lions Club and Executive Director of MAGB Transportation serving North West Oklahoma; so much of my painting is on weekends and nights. It is essential that I set aside blocks of time to paint and write and try not to have outside interference. I have three lovely children and seven grandchildren and a wonderful wife, Janice, who has stood by my side for over fifty years. My love for Jesus covers all that I do, and he is the authority over all I have. “
Where are you from, and how has that influenced your art?
“I grew up in Roswell, New Mexico, and graduated from the first class of Goddard High School. I then went on to McMurry College on a full track scholarship and then on to Eastern New Mexico University, where I received my BS degree. From there, I went to Southern Methodist University Perkins School of Theology and graduated with a Masters of Theology degree in 1975. I started painting in my early sixties when I received a ”CALL”, to paint. This unique experience I explain in my book, ”Vincent Van ‘Gogh’s Leap of Faith,” which I wrote for inmates with the hope of having it in every prison and jail in the United States. One cannot legislate morality! Only Jesus can fix a broken life. My book, ”Passport to Heaven – ‘Don’t Leave Earth Without It” is a compilation of my paintings dedicated to the Glory of God. “