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New book and art installation

New book and art installation, Dunlin Press

The publishing company run by myself and poet MW Bewick, Dunlin Press, has just released a small pamphlet A Study of a Long-Lived Magma Ocean on A Young Moon. We thought this new book presented a great opportunity to use my new gallery space as a way of making the book ‘bigger’ with an accompanying art installation.

A study of a long lived magma ocean on a young moon, ella johnston and martin bewick
This 36-page pamphlet is a collaboration with poet MW Bewick and me. The latest project from our creative partnership showcases asemic poetry pieces by me and a long form poem by Bewick.

A Study of a Long-Lived Magma Ocean on a Young Moon, Ella Johnston and MW Bewick. Dunlin Press

The first edition of fifty is individually numbered and comes with a signed artist postcard.

Window feature art installation, Dunlin Press

We were so taken with the concept of the pamphlet – of life and movement in all kinds of landscapes and locations. We were inspired for the project to have a life and presence beyond the book.

A Study of a Long-Lived Magma Ocean on a Young Moon, Ella Johnston and MW Bewick. Dunlin Press

I took the asemic poetry pieces I created for the book and made them large scale. I was inspired by mark-making and wordless written language, but the large pieces were also influenced by modernist stained glass window designs and religious scrolls.

New book and art installation, Dunlin Press

Asemic poem large scale, Ella Johnston artist

Large Asemic Poem, Ella JohnstonWe wanted the new book and art installation to be a full experience. So MW Bewick created a soundtrack, available on Band Camp to accompany the piece. I also created some ceramic relics for the project.

A study of a long-lived magma ocean on a young moon, relics by Ella Johnston

You can buy the book at the Dunlin Press shop, you can download MW Bewick’s Young Moon soundtrack at the Dunlin Press Band Camp page. And if you’d like to see the show then please get in touch. Viewings are currently available by appointment.

Ella Johnston art studio and gallery


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New work: new ink prints

Ella Johnston Ink Equipment I’m very excited to share some new work with you. My new ink prints point to an interesting new direction for my art practice and business.

Flowing grass fine art print, Ella Johnston

I have recently rediscovered my love for working with ink. In the past I’ve achieved brilliant results drawing with ink pens and Japanese calligraphy brushes, I wanted to see if I could do it again. Flowing grass original pen and ink, Ella Johnston My last post talked about my first forays into reconnecting with pen, ink and brush work. It explored my need for finding my style within such an expressive and beautiful way of mark-making.
Flowing grass fine art print, Ella Johnston As always when looking for inspiration with my practice I meditated on my own passions and interests. It was my walks by the Colne Estuary in Wivenhoe that sparked off these series of prints. Eucalyptus sprig fine art print, Ella Johnston Naturally, I made bird sketches but it was the salt marsh and reeds that attracted me. After going home and doing lots and lots of reed drawings I decided to make simple, botanical sprigs as my subjects.
Eucalyptus sprig original pen and ink, Ella Johnston I then set about gathering all kinds of wild grasses, palms and plants. I made lots of botanical ink studies and selected my favourite ones for print. I’ve made three very simple fine art prints which are now available on Folksy.

Floating leaves fine art print, Ella Johnston

I work on hot pressed fine quality watercolour paper. As well as using inks I also work with washes of water too to create depth and variation of tone.

I intend to continue to explore drawing with pen, ink and brushes throughout the year. Again, if I’m pleased with the results you’ll see more prints and fabric designs coming soon.

Floating leaves original pen and ink, Ella Johnston

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Monday Moodboard: Dots and splodges

Monday Moodboard Dots and SplodgesAh dots and splodges, my old friends. It’s only right I dedicate a Monday Moodboard to these guys as they are really essential to my creative process.

Whenever I’m in a bit of a rut illustration wise but need to get my drawing head on I make marks with dots and splodges. It helps me explore what patterns to create and allows me to enjoy the medium of whatever I’m working in, be it watercolour, ink or felt pen.

But they’re not just a cool way to play with mark-making; as you can see by the above they are incredibly effective in creating patterns and compositions. I personally can’t resist the combination of black with white, pink and apricot shades.

By the way I need to do a big shout out to Ashley Goldberg as two of her designs are featured here. I LOVE her work to pieces. Check it out here.

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Drawing of the week: Hare

Hare illustration (c) Ella Johnston’s my drawing of the week – a lovely wild hare.

I mentioned last week that I’m branching out with my drawing and illustration, challenging myself to do new things so… Here. Hare. Here*.

As usual this earnest looking little fella was created using watercolour and fine-nibbed felt tip pen. I really enjoyed doing his whiskers and eyebrows – a fun bit of mark-making if ever there was.

* With apologies to Bruce Robinson.