Artist uses wood blocks as her canvas

Nancie Johnson of Mayfield and New Jersey holds the kind of wood block letters she paints while exhibiting her artwork on Saturday, Aug. 31, at Adirondack Country Store in Northville. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

NORTHVILLE — The variety in art has seemingly no limit.

Nancie Johnson of Mayfield and New Jersey illustrated that idea in her artwork exhibited Saturday at Adirondack Country Store at 252 N. Main St.

She buys blocks of pine wood letters five inches high and one inch thick from a business in Idaho and turns them into art.

“I take a lot of photographs and put the parts together,” said Johnson.

She then uses Photoshop and uses the end product to paint a scene on blocks in acrylics.

Some of the words she uses are “camp,” “lake” and “life.” They are horizontal pieces of a scene she has photographed. Though each letter is separate, they reproduce the scene. “The letters make the scene pop and add uniqueness to it,” she said.

“I love to do anything with the lake, the trees. I love the Adirondacks, old buildings or houses,” she said.

“I’m not an art school person, but basically a self-taught artist,” she said. “It’s moments of life, emotions, I try to capture.”

“I can do pets, but I can’t draw the human face,” she said. “That’s a different skill set.”

She was employed for almost 40 years for a graphic arts company, which in turn worked for advertisers, book publishers, magazines and newspapers, including Time, Newsweek BusinessWeek, Vogue and Vanity Fair. She began when type was set by hand. Later type was pasted up. Finally computer design arrived in full force.

Now she uses the computer “to compose and design what I’m going to paint,” she said.

“I always loved art,” she said. Her father was a tool and die maker who taught her to paint using perspective. He’d make a dot and tell her, “draw the living room,’ she said.

A member of the Sacandaga Valley Arts Network, Johnson said her art is displayed at the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts in Gloversville till the end of October and she participated in SVAN’s self-guided tour of 17 working artists on Aug. 24 and 25, exhibiting at the Vail Mills visitor center by the traffic circle.

Her work won best in show at an Art of Healing exhibit at a health center in New Jersey and has won first place and honorable mentions in other exhibitions.

Adirondack Country Store tries to feature “as many artists as we can to promote our artists and bring people into the store to see them in action,” said proprietor Joyce Teshony.

“The public loves it,” she said. “They like to see what they do and how they do it and meet them as well.”

This year’s schedule includes both artists and authors.

By Josh Bovee

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