Sunday, February 22, 2015

February Newsletter from Michael Chesley Johnson

"December Morning in the Desert"
24x30 oil/canvas
This painting will be at Yavapai College Verde Art Gallery, March 23-April 9,
as part of the "Sedona Saves: Selected Works from Verde Valley Art Collections" Exhibit
A Collaborative Exhibit by the Sedona Art Museum, The Sedona Heritage Museum
and the Sedona Arts Center

February, 2015
Sedona, Arizona

While Downeast Maine and the Canadian Maritimes are suffering a winter of historic blizzards and bitter cold, here in Arizona we are enjoying unseasonably warm and dry weather. I always joke that when it hits 80, we head north; well, we have already hit 80, and that's warmer than I like it. But I won't complain—I've seen the photos of ten-foot snow drifts back home.

I just returned from a delightful week with Albert Handell in Palm Springs, California. Albert honored me by offering an invitation to join his mentoring program there. Although Sedona is delightful this time of year, how could I say no? I was Albert's "point man" for getting people to locations, managing our dinner reservations and generally helping out. We spent all week at the Indian Canyons Park painting palm trees, rocks and water and learning from the master. I don't think I've ever participated in a program where everyone was already an accomplished painter. It was a real treat to see all the wonderful work. At the end of the week, we had a large group celebrating Albert's birthday. If you would like to read a day-by-day journal of the week, you can visit my blog:

I'm happy to announce that I have a new gallery. The Great Southwest is located in the Hillside Plaza in Sedona (671 SR 179, A-CT 2, Sedona, AZ / 928-282-0248 / Specializing in classic and traditional Southwest jewelry, arts and furniture, the gallery is open seven days a week, 10-6. I hope you'll stop in.

I've been invited back to two excellent plein air painting events. The 11th Annual Sedona Plein Air Festival will be held October 17-24, 2015. This year, they are inviting only 15 landscape artists, but while we're out painting in the field, a small group of nationally-known figure painters will be working from the model in the Arts Center. This is an exciting change, and I'm looking forward to my eighth time with this festival. For more details, visit The 3rd Annual Castine Plein Air Festival will be held July 23-25, 2015, in Castine, Maine. Castine has beautiful architecture and boats, and I'm eager to paint more of this for my third time at this festival. For more details, visit

My large painting, "December Morning in the Desert" (see it at the top of this newsletter), will be exhibited at the "Sedona Saves: Selected Works from Verde Valley Art Collections" show at Yavapai College Verde Art Gallery, March 23-April 9, in Clarkdale, Arizona. This is a collaborative exhibit by the Sedona Art Museum, The Sedona Heritage Museum and the Sedona Arts Center. I am proud to be among the other excellent artists in this event. Yavapai College is at 601 Black Hills Dr, Clarkdale, Arizona.

My one-man exhibit, Artist as Steward of the Land, continues at Sedona City Hall in the Vultee Conference Room.  Because the room is used for meetings, you will want to contact Nancy Lattanzi, Arts & Culture Coordinator, for a viewing at 928-203-5078 or  City Hall is at 102 Roadrunner Drive, Sedona, Arizona.

By the way, master artist Doug Dawson will be coming to Lubec, Maine, this summer to teach a mentoring workshop. We'll be painting Lubec, which is an historic fishing village, and the spectacular Downeast Maine landscape. Doug is a very giving instructor and a master in pastel and oil, so don't miss this opportunity! The workshop runs August 24-28, 2015. For more details, please visit

I've got a new book out.  Artist as Steward of the Land is a portfolio of recent work and it's in a handy, small format but with very clear images.  You can order this and other books, plus all my new videos, from  (And I will also mention that I am working on a another new book, which I hope to finish this summer!  Stay tuned.)

Finally, I have a very few openings left in my season here in Sedona, Arizona. You can see the schedule and read all the details at Also, I am now filling up weeks for my season in Lubec and on Campobello Island for this summer. I can't tell you how much I enjoy painting that area, and I'd love for you to join me. For details, please visit

Have a great rest of the winter!

Michael & Trina & Saba

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