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Cathy Kate Johnson

Artist's Profile

Montage courtesy Sonya Morgan,

Illuminated Ephemera

Images from a tattered book of fairy tales, an 18th century natural history, or an original copy of the New England Primer-covers gone, pages hanging by a thread, brown and brittle with age--find new life as illuminated ephemera by artist Kate Johnson. Scanned or photographed and printed on premium paper, then mounted on archival board, they are embellished with clay plaques, paintings, lettering, and drawings in ink and gold paint. An extensive collection of stamps, some antique, some made by the artist, add complex texture--these images are then antiqued or distressed as inspiration moves her. Handmade tiles, Celtic symbols, leaves, hand-spun flax and discarded jewelry all find their way to these surfaces. Some have poems of her own creation, some bits of sardonic caption, some jokes-and some cryptic gleanings from her own old journals, combined in collage. Some are inspiring, and others inspire a laugh if nothing else. Some speak of love and death and promises. They are as mysterious and evocative as the images that captured our imagination in ages past.

And when she is not doing mixed media assemblages, Johnson works in watercolor, acrylic, pen and ink, colored pencil and potters' clay--whatever strikes her creative fancy. Sculpture is a field she finds particularly exciting, but she paints 18th century style portrait miniatures, as well.

"I believe art should be enticing, inviting, accessible...perhaps that's one reason I also make wearable art. I want people to be able to own and enjoy my work..." -Kate Johnson

Johnson's new Cafe Press store makes her work even MORE accessible--click on the link above, or go to to find clothing, postcards, prints, and much more.

Her work is represented in a number of national and international collections, and by the Excelsior Springs Fine Arts Gallery ( and by the Olde English Garden Shoppe (, where she offers green men and landscape paintings. She has written 10 books on painting and drawing for North Light Books and the Sierra Club, and is a contributing editor of both The Artist's Magazine and Watercolor Magic. She has written and illustrated articles for Artist's Magazine, Watercolor Magic, Early American Life, Women's History Magazine, Americana, Country Living, Sierra, Muzzleloader, Harrowsmith Country Life, Country Journal, Science Digest,Sports Afield and others.

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