Carmen Cartiness Johnson

Carmen Cartiness Johnson is a local artist who works mostly in acrylics

Carmen Cartiness Johnson didn’t set out to be a painter.

In fact, she had a full-time job as an auto worker at a General Motors plant. Her shift ran from 3:30 until midnight or later, but she enjoyed painting and managed to get some time to paint earlier in the day and on weekends.

She started taking painting more seriously around 1985, when her grandmother died and she attended the funeral in Arkansas. She says that she realized then that she ‘needed to say something, to show that my grandmother’s been on this planet.’ The result was a series of half a dozen paintings based on the life her grandmother lived, as a farmer and a farmer’s wife, in Arkansas. She calls these her ‘granny paintings.’

Her painting paused for a while after that, but resumed in 1989 or so, when she had children and wanted to stay home with them.

Now she paints full time, starting her day at 5:30 in the morning, walking her dog and then sitting in her studio to paint until mid-afternoon. ‘I try to treat it like a job,’ she says.

Her work has been recognized with exhibits, purchases into collections, and even time as an artist-in-residence at Rutgers Center for Innovative Print and Paper, creating a six-color, aluminum plate lithograph.

She has lived in San Antonio since 2007.

You can find more of Carmen's work on her website.

Heart of the House

Acrylic on canvas, 36" x 48"