On A Bare Branch

My name is Marie Z. Johansen, and I am honored to have been selected to be a member of the new design team for Niji-Yasutomo.

I am a textile and mixed-media artist who calls a rural island ,far from the mainland, home. My work is somewhat influenced by the beauty of the natural world.

I am an experimenter by nature and enjoy trying new products – sometimes used in non-traditional ways!Niji 1

Full Size

Niji 1a closeup

Extreme Close Up showing the fine detail of several layers of  Pale Gold Sumi-e Waterolor

Niji 1b

Close Up



  1. Paint the background in pale, mottled watercolors, adding a few brighter spots for interest. Choose colors that you like or that suit the theme .
  2. When the paper is thoroughly dry glaze the card stock with Pale Gold Sumi-e watercolor, adding more to some areas than others.
  3. Draw a simple design of larger and smaller, tall and thin and small and squat, rectangles, painting them in pale colors with just a few brighter spots for impact.
  4. Next, draw large oval shape on the page where you would like to insert a quote. Choose a quote that has meaning to you or that suits your theme.
  5. A small, simple stencil (from Stencil Girl designs) can be used to “bridge” all of the shapes and make your design more cohesive or “pulled together”.
  6. Last, but by no means least you can add a cut out  for added impact.

I chose to use a cut out of one of my favorite birds; a crow. The crow, aside from being such an intelligent bird,also seems to be synonymous with Halloween and Samhain celebrations , and with the season of Fall in general.

3 thoughts on “On A Bare Branch

  1. WOW! What an awesome project!! I love the watercolor effect!!

  2. Stunning..lovely mix of colors!

  3. dare i say it’s golden? my favorite tones. an inspired mix of sentiment and color.

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