Meet the Artists - Johanna Dowell

Born in May 1968 in Corby, Northamptonshire, Johanna was brought up in a small, rural, farming community. It was here that she developed her great love for all animals but particularly horses and dogs. She spent the vast part of her childhood riding her Shetland cross Welsh Mountain pony, "or at least attempting to", as she describes it. She likens the scene rather more to one of Thelwell's children constantly falling off, as opposed to being a promising young horsewoman! Johanna was educated at Kibworth High School, Ivanhoe High School and finally Ashby Grammar School, where amongst other subjects she obtained "O" level and "A" level art. Her art teachers despaired of her however, as no matter what title she was given as a project she would always find a way to incorporate a horse or a dog and even the essay she had to write for her history of art "A" level was on George Stubbs. On leaving school at eighteen she immediately started to work as a greetings card artist, for an agency. In her own words "this has been a demoralising task". She would be commissioned to do specific subjects in a specific style for which she would receive a small payment and not even the satisfaction of seeing her work in print, as initially the agency's policy was to not even tell the artist who the publisher would be. However, Johanna has always had a bright outlook on life and kept her spirits up by continuing to paint horses and dogs in her free time. It was because of this love that she often wandered onto the Sally Mitchell Fine Arts stand at Burghley Horse Trials, a particular fan of Malcom Coward's work. This, in turn, led her to visit the Sally Mitchell Card stand at the International Spring Fair at the NEC in 1996. As a result, 1997 sees not only the publication of two of her images in the Sally Mitchell Countrymen Elite range of cards; but also her first limited edition print featuring a picture of her own bulldog puppy, "Oliver"; entitled "Bullring". Johanna is well travelled, enjoying visits to France and Italy, especially Rome where she spent her honeymoon. However, she holds a particular fondness in her heart for Scotland as her father was a very proud Scot, who often talked of Scotland and took her there on many a holiday. It was in honour of her father that she was married just outside Ayr in a small castle, in 1994. Johanna's work is very detailed, yet retains a softness that so many artists working in highly detailed styles, lose. Johanna is more than happy to accept commissions and can be contacted through Sally Mitchell Fine Arts.

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