For most of my career, I’ve been the principal of my own firm, Level 29 Design, and art director for several magazines, most recently HARBORS, a travel destination magazine, and 48° NORTH, a regional sailing and boating magazine.
Now I spend summers exploring the Pacific Coast and the Pacific Northwest waters on our 40 foot trawler, Mischief. The rest of the year, I’m back in Seattle, still enthralled with the sights I’ve seen and putting them out for other people to enjoy.
THIS IS ME, Karen Johnson
aboard Mischief, in pristine McMicking Inlet, close to the Alaska border. We are the only boat for miles around.
I draw what I see, more or less. I don’t promise to be accurate, just imaginative. I’m fascinated with exploring the biodiversity of our world. My goal is for my art to serve as a reminder to us all that the world is full of many wonders, and we should share it wisely.
My design background is evident in my art. I thrive on colors, shapes, patterns and textures. Fluid strokes and a sense of movement are the basis for my style.
Oregon State University,
The Marine Food Web,
Juried group show, 2020
Cascadia Art Museum Artwalk, 2022
West Seattle Artwalk, 2022
Tour de Vance
Downtown Seattle, 2016
Ballard Art Walk, 2016
Joshua Green Building Lobby, Seattle
Starbucks, Downtown Seattle
Market Art, Downtown Seattle
My current work is all created on an iPad Pro, mostly just using a finger or two directly on the screen, sometimes using a stylus for detail work. This allows me to work like a designer, in layers with digital controls, and best of all, undo.
In the modern world, digital images can be output on a myriad of substrates and scaled as desired. My preferred end product is limited edition archival pigment prints, hand signed.
Here’s a fun video of my drawing process. It wasn’t meant to be an animation, but it shows my thought process for creating a story within each image.