Meet the artist of the month: Carolyn Johns

Monday, July 16, 2018
The Marshall County Art Guild’s artist of the month Carolyn Johns shows off her favorite abstract painting.
Tribune photo by Erin Morris

74-year-old artist Carolyn Johns has spent years developing her artistic technique with no formal training.

She was born in Lewisburg but moved to Illinois when she was only six years old. Johns never went to school for art, but she has always admired it and soon found herself surrounded by artists when Johns traveled to California.

During her time in California, she started to experiment more with art and fell in love with it.

Before leaving California, she discovered her hometown art guild in the newspaper. It was the art guild that brought her back home.

Johns moved to Marshall County 13 years ago and has been a member of the guild ever since, serving currently as vice president.

When Johns first joined, she was surrounded by teachers with years of experience and other beginners like herself. She believes that the exposure is responsible for shaping her style today.

Johns had many friends that were interested in art. Many of them encouraged her to keep creating pieces because they truly believed in her work.

However, Johns never viewed her artwork as good enough, at least until she became a member of the guild.

“Right from the start, I wanted to be perfect,” Johns said. “I didn’t understand that with art you have to be free.”

Eventually, she realized her self-worth as an artist. She even started teaching a watercolor class.

“In all honesty, I really didn’t like teaching… It was the people that I met, which made me love the classes,” Johns said.

Johns explained her first time teaching was not a smooth ride; she was nervous and stumbled on her words in front of the 20 people that showed up to her first class.

It took time to understand how to break down the paintings for her students, but she became comfortable enough to continue teaching twice a month.

According to Johns, the people were the only reason she kept teaching. She enjoyed meeting and connecting with people from all over.

Her ultimate goal was for her art to impact and change the lives of her students, even if it was in some small way.

“There’s a reason I don’t sell my paintings. No one could ever pay me for what I think it’s worth,” Johns said.

The artist reception for her will be held July 13 at 5 p.m.