Pat Meier-Johnson has been selected as the 2015 Olive Season Artist.

Johnson was bestowed the honor on Jan. 2, when dozens gathered at Studio 35 in Sonoma, to celebrate the work of Johnson, described by the Sonoma Valley Visitors Bureau as “a native of the San Francisco Bay Area with a passion for travel.”  

“Her works reflect the places she has visited as well as everyday life in the northern California wine country where she enjoys life with her husband, Russ Johnson, an accomplished photographer and writer,” the SVVB said in a press release about Johnson. The Visitors Bureau partnered with Studio 35 to choose the year’s Olive Season Artist.

Johnson studied at San Francisco State University and under such artists as Chester Arnold, Ditte Jensen, George Scribner, Joe Baraban and Carol Smith Myer.

Johnson describers herself as an “explorer of light, shape and color” around the world.

“I paint mostly oils of still lives and landscapes, examining how light passes through a glass vase, reflects off a shiny copper pot, illuminates a bay in southern India, peeks through sand dunes in Morocco or travels across a vineyard in the Sonoma Valley,” said Johnson.

Johnson and her husband moved to Sonoma four years ago, and she says she was inspired by the clarity of the skies, and “what the distinct changing seasons do to the color of the hills, the vineyards.”

Johnson worked years ago as a political cartoonist for PBS. She took up watercoloring while traveling to India and Thailand. In 2012, she took a photography course at the Main Media Workshop of Joe Baraban and discovered, she says, “the magic of light.”

“We were out shooting before dawn and at dusk studying highlights, shadows and composition,” she said. “That’s when I decided to apply what I learned to painting.”

She said her painting for Olive Season – titled “Gift Of The Olive” - was a challenge as the light behind the olive oil decanter moved and changed throughout the day, altering the color of the branches, the reflection off the top of the oil in the bottle, and the color of the cast shadows.

“I love how the olive branch almost caresses the bottle and the orange persimmons are a colorful foil to the gray-green leaves,” Johnson said.

The “Gift of The Olive” is on display at Studio 35, 35 Patten St., Sonoma, and posters are available at both Studio 35 and the Sonoma Valley Visitors Bureau.