Paintings, woodblock prints on display at county building

"Oaks at Pinto Lake" is a woodblock print by Aaron Johnson.

SANTA CRUZ — Ten paintings and two woodblock prints by Aaron Johnson are currently on exhibit at the Santa Cruz County Building.

Johnson’s extra large oil paintings of serene woody scenes offer glimpses of calming forest landscapes with a keen grasp of lighting and shadows. His sense of graceful lines plays out in a web of tree limbs and trunks couched in a sweeping mix of foliage.

Using the traditional medium of oil on linen, Johnson brings over 20 years of letterpress printing experience to the production of his woodcut prints.

“Both techniques require patience, but encourage a slower, more contemplative way of looking than is common in our contemporary world,” Johnson said.

Johnson studied art at UC Santa Cruz and has shown his work at Stanford University, the Triton Museum of Art and the San Diego Museum of Art, among scores of other spots.

“I like having a show at the County Building,” he said. “All the works on exhibit are from Santa Cruz County. I lived out by Pinto Lake for about nine years and I painted a lot of scenes from that area including apple orchards.”


ABOVE: "Fall Creek Redwood" is an oil on canvas painting by Aaron Johnson.

Johnson has had numerous solo shows dating back to 1983 and has taken part in dozens of group art exhibits dating back to 1982.

“The first five years of my life were spent within national parks in Washington, Oregon and California, and since then nature has been my starting point,” Johnson said. “Nature’s role in human life and our attitudes toward it form central concerns in my work. In recent years I have been fortunate to travel with my wife Anne Cappiello in Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Guatemala and Mexico. How people have adapted to dramatically different environments is an ongoing fascination.”

Johnson said he plans to show his work at the Open Studio Art Tour in October, which he has been a part of 15 times in the past. His work will show on the weeks of Oct. 12 and 19 at his studio, 1305 Chanticleer Ave. in Live Oak.