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Vanessa Kiki Johanning

Published:

I can’t help it…I live and breathe creativity!

I come from an entrepreneurial family. Being the oldest of four girls, I have memories of being involved in start-up businesses with my parents and watching how they worked so imaginatively! This gave me the tools and paths to follow; however, I had to dig deep to find the courage to follow my own dreams and passions. My wonderfully supportive husband, Robert, is a brilliant creative in his own right. Working daily with robotics, he is my fun lovable sidekick that always says, “Let’s Try It!” My son, Will, and Daughter, Alicia, have always had the creative gene and the drive for business, as well. I’m so proud of both of their accomplishments!

My background that led me to be an artist started as a professional garden designer! I was thrilled for many years to create hundreds of flower gardens all over the United States. I have a knack for remembering thousands of perennials, what they need to thrive and where they need to be planted. Creating a garden to me was like orchestrating a symphony. I specialized in spaces that had various levels of colors and different blooming times. It turns out, this was a natural pathway to painting as my clients started to frame the actual blueprints and plans of my gardens. Nothing thrilled me more than to draw up a garden, rip up an entire yard, and then to be standing in the middle of my artwork with the client. It was like walking into my painting! I am smiling even as I write this. This led to opening a store that would sell garden sculptures, creative art, and home collections. My clients always knew me when I drove up because I had an extravagant art-painted vehicle. Quite the sight I’m sure, but as always, spreading smiles.

After a while, I sold my company, retired from crawling around in the dirt and driving bulldozers, never steering far from my love of florals and design. I still use all my former business and garden knowledge daily in my current life now as a Full-Time Artist! Over the years, I have taught countless classes in gardening, floral design, painting, stitching, journaling, folklore, encaustic wax, and so much more! I was given an amazing opportunity to be on the faculty of Art Is You Creative Retreats, where I traveled around the country leading classes. One of the greatest gifts from being in the art field is meeting other artists! Some are introverts, while others are wild and wacky like me! We all freely share the tricks and tips we’ve learned along the way. We help each other get past our fears and celebrate the growth in our lives. With social media, it is a much smaller world than you think. I post positive words and art daily on Instagram, come say hi!

“Don’t worry if you are making waves by being yourself…the moon does it all the time!” – Scott Stabile

Currently, I spend my time making custom journals that are heirloom quality, handmade for each individual. I cut, sew, paint, and cover each French watercolor paper with love, exclusively for each client. They are filled to the brim with original artwork and pockets, for the client to add their own memories! People do not buy my art, they adopt it. I encourage them to make it their own and I want them to journal on top of my paintings! Each journal and painting I sell is a treasured piece of art, long before it arrives on your doorstep. Each piece lives for weeks and months in my mind, till they are bursting to be made. I don’t create them quickly; each one gets my love and soul until the moment they tell me they’re complete. Made just for you. Sometimes I have a hard time letting them go and that tells me it’s time for delivery! My greatest wish is to sell my sweet art to you and let you share in the joy it has given me!

Many would say that I’m addicted to patterns, color, and florals in paper and fabrics. I would have to agree! I compare it to seeing the difference between a foxglove from a snapdragon. It’s looking deep into the petals and seeing a detailed story! As I ponder about their history, I love to use them in so many ways.

Whether you decorate your home or embellish your clothing, there is no wrong way to add uniqueness to your life. I say go for it!

Come walk with me in an artists’ garden…can you hear the birds chirping? On the clothesline hang vintage teacups and my decorated dresses. Down the hill, you can just see my colorful handmade, painted, and lighted fabric Lanterns. They hang around the garden, shedding soft light on secret paths lined with vintage plates and teacup birdbaths.

I delight in having a steel, eight-foot-tall, lighted peace symbol my husband and I welded. It shines all day and night, overlooking the many bubbling fountains… it’s all so magical! On my back patio is a swing futon that I spend many hours on, dreaming up more creations. Hanging from it are potted flowers, colorful fringed fabrics, and stitched ephemera, strategically placed to attract hummingbirds and butterflies to my feeders.

Further back into my yard, nestled under an ivy arbor, is an antique desk resting under a lighted crystal chandelier. I love to sit here and work on my handmade journals while watching the butterflies. I encourage you to make a space in your own yard to create. Even a blanket under a tree becomes special if you share it with a journal!

Vanessa Kiki Johanning Sewing Machine

What do you do with three indoor studios, you may ask? My first studio is a sewing space. I am a very visual person, so I love to see the fabric, ribbons, and embroidery threads folded neatly in open storage rather than having them stored away. It is easy to grab a colorful vintage hankie from my grandmother’s collection to stitch on a shirt, and see it immediately decorated in my bohemian style! Vintage scraps of fabric, hankies, and doilies…oh, they give me the thrills! Of course, in here you will spot a favorite tool of mine, my handpainted sewing machines, covered with flowers and birds.

Now let’s walk to the main part of our home to see studio number Two. The sunlight shines in the big bay window full of many plants. A cedar vaulted ceiling lets them grow tall! I adore the greenery, as I’m always taking cuttings, and it is the perfect backdrop to all the paintings. This is an exciting space where I collage, paint, and journal the days away. It is filled with a beautiful aviary full of canaries and birdsong, lots of books, art supplies, and sunshine. There are fun collections everywhere! I can’t imagine a chandelier without ships sailing around it! When people walk in the front door, it’s the first happy place that greets them, and they know an artist lives there!

My third and largest studio is the secret to our happy marriage! His and her garages! His is neat as a pin, while mine is heated and lined with beautiful ‘prop department shelving’. They contain everything you could ever want for photoshoots, staging, and decorating. It’s like a behind-the-scenes showroom! I have used many of these props to decorate holiday homes for charity fundraisers for many years. I enjoy the look of wonder and delight on people’s faces as they enter my magical showroom.

Centered in the middle of this studio is a beautiful large table from my grandmother. It is chalk-painted a bright teal and is where I teach classes. In the warmer months, the garage door is opened and covered with a screen to let the warm breezes flow through. This is a great studio to create my larger paintings in.

Together, these three studios are the perfect medley of the best curiosity shops you’ll ever imagine! I don’t believe an artist has to choose one line of creativity; it just makes sense to let it flow in every way you want!

Finally, I am very excited about the current project I am working on, a coffee table book titled “Embellish Your Life ~An Atelier of Joyful Nature and Wonderment”. This is a very tactile book, filled with ephemeral decor, snapshots of ideas, and permission to embellish! Geared towards inspiring the creative, the handmade artist, and the collector. It is a beautiful piece of art in its own right. Look for it soon!

I can’t help it…I live and breathe creativity!

I come from an entrepreneurial family. Being the oldest of four girls, I have memories of being involved in start-up businesses with my parents and watching how they worked so imaginatively! This gave me the tools and paths to follow; however, I had to dig deep to find the courage to follow my own dreams and passions. My wonderfully supportive husband, Robert, is a brilliant creative in his own right. Working daily with robotics, he is my fun lovable sidekick that always says, “Let’s Try It!” My son, Will, and Daughter, Alicia, have always had the creative gene and the drive for business, as well. I’m so proud of both of their accomplishments!

My background that led me to be an artist started as a professional garden designer! I was thrilled for many years to create hundreds of flower gardens all over the United States. I have a knack for remembering thousands of perennials, what they need to thrive and where they need to be planted. Creating a garden to me was like orchestrating a symphony. I specialized in spaces that had various levels of colors and different blooming times. It turns out, this was a natural pathway to painting as my clients started to frame the actual blueprints and plans of my gardens. Nothing thrilled me more than to draw up a garden, rip up an entire yard, and then to be standing in the middle of my artwork with the client. It was like walking into my painting! I am smiling even as I write this. This led to opening a store that would sell garden sculptures, creative art, and home collections. My clients always knew me when I drove up because I had an extravagant art-painted vehicle. Quite the sight I’m sure, but as always, spreading smiles.

After a while, I sold my company, retired from crawling around in the dirt and driving bulldozers, never steering far from my love of florals and design. I still use all my former business and garden knowledge daily in my current life now as a Full-Time Artist! Over the years, I have taught countless classes in gardening, floral design, painting, stitching, journaling, folklore, encaustic wax, and so much more! I was given an amazing opportunity to be on the faculty of Art Is You Creative Retreats, where I traveled around the country leading classes. One of the greatest gifts from being in the art field is meeting other artists! Some are introverts, while others are wild and wacky like me! We all freely share the tricks and tips we’ve learned along the way. We help each other get past our fears and celebrate the growth in our lives. With social media, it is a much smaller world than you think. I post positive words and art daily on Instagram, come say hi!

“Don’t worry if you are making waves by being yourself…the moon does it all the time!” – Scott Stabile

Currently, I spend my time making custom journals that are heirloom quality, handmade for each individual. I cut, sew, paint, and cover each French watercolor paper with love, exclusively for each client. They are filled to the brim with original artwork and pockets, for the client to add their own memories! People do not buy my art, they adopt it. I encourage them to make it their own and I want them to journal on top of my paintings! Each journal and painting I sell is a treasured piece of art, long before it arrives on your doorstep. Each piece lives for weeks and months in my mind, till they are bursting to be made. I don’t create them quickly; each one gets my love and soul until the moment they tell me they’re complete. Made just for you. Sometimes I have a hard time letting them go and that tells me it’s time for delivery! My greatest wish is to sell my sweet art to you and let you share in the joy it has given me!

Many would say that I’m addicted to patterns, color, and florals in paper and fabrics. I would have to agree! I compare it to seeing the difference between a foxglove from a snapdragon. It’s looking deep into the petals and seeing a detailed story! As I ponder about their history, I love to use them in so many ways.

Whether you decorate your home or embellish your clothing, there is no wrong way to add uniqueness to your life. I say go for it!

Come walk with me in an artists’ garden…can you hear the birds chirping? On the clothesline hang vintage teacups and my decorated dresses. Down the hill, you can just see my colorful handmade, painted, and lighted fabric Lanterns. They hang around the garden, shedding soft light on secret paths lined with vintage plates and teacup birdbaths.

I delight in having a steel, eight-foot-tall, lighted peace symbol my husband and I welded. It shines all day and night, overlooking the many bubbling fountains… it’s all so magical! On my back patio is a swing futon that I spend many hours on, dreaming up more creations. Hanging from it are potted flowers, colorful fringed fabrics, and stitched ephemera, strategically placed to attract hummingbirds and butterflies to my feeders.

Further back into my yard, nestled under an ivy arbor, is an antique desk resting under a lighted crystal chandelier. I love to sit here and work on my handmade journals while watching the butterflies. I encourage you to make a space in your own yard to create. Even a blanket under a tree becomes special if you share it with a journal!

Vanessa Kiki Johanning Sewing Machine

What do you do with three indoor studios, you may ask? My first studio is a sewing space. I am a very visual person, so I love to see the fabric, ribbons, and embroidery threads folded neatly in open storage rather than having them stored away. It is easy to grab a colorful vintage hankie from my grandmother’s collection to stitch on a shirt, and see it immediately decorated in my bohemian style! Vintage scraps of fabric, hankies, and doilies…oh, they give me the thrills! Of course, in here you will spot a favorite tool of mine, my handpainted sewing machines, covered with flowers and birds.

Now let’s walk to the main part of our home to see studio number Two. The sunlight shines in the big bay window full of many plants. A cedar vaulted ceiling lets them grow tall! I adore the greenery, as I’m always taking cuttings, and it is the perfect backdrop to all the paintings. This is an exciting space where I collage, paint, and journal the days away. It is filled with a beautiful aviary full of canaries and birdsong, lots of books, art supplies, and sunshine. There are fun collections everywhere! I can’t imagine a chandelier without ships sailing around it! When people walk in the front door, it’s the first happy place that greets them, and they know an artist lives there!

My third and largest studio is the secret to our happy marriage! His and her garages! His is neat as a pin, while mine is heated and lined with beautiful ‘prop department shelving’. They contain everything you could ever want for photoshoots, staging, and decorating. It’s like a behind-the-scenes showroom! I have used many of these props to decorate holiday homes for charity fundraisers for many years. I enjoy the look of wonder and delight on people’s faces as they enter my magical showroom.

Centered in the middle of this studio is a beautiful large table from my grandmother. It is chalk-painted a bright teal and is where I teach classes. In the warmer months, the garage door is opened and covered with a screen to let the warm breezes flow through. This is a great studio to create my larger paintings in.

Together, these three studios are the perfect medley of the best curiosity shops you’ll ever imagine! I don’t believe an artist has to choose one line of creativity; it just makes sense to let it flow in every way you want!

Finally, I am very excited about the current project I am working on, a coffee table book titled “Embellish Your Life ~An Atelier of Joyful Nature and Wonderment”. This is a very tactile book, filled with ephemeral decor, snapshots of ideas, and permission to embellish! Geared towards inspiring the creative, the handmade artist, and the collector. It is a beautiful piece of art in its own right. Look for it soon!