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Meet Joan...


The photograph at left was made in her studio at home in the late 1980’s. It was a comfortable place with light for painting in her last years. Rather than me writing a bio, I found some recaps of Joan’s life that were written about her in 1968 and 1990. I’m hoping that Joan Johnson’s name is still "magic" with decorative painters today as it was then.

This was the Foreword in her first “A Painter True” book published in 1968.


There are many types of talent; some acquired, others endowed with the capacities of superior character and ability. Joan possesses this natural talent enhanced by many years of teaching and creating. Her original designs and patterns are unique because they are truly original and a part of her.

Her teaching career began in 1958 when she originated her famous “method” painting. This has been known and practiced extensively throughout the country with hundreds of teachers coming to her studio to learn this method. Those unable to come, acquired aid through mail-order of packets, designs and patterns, thus beginning a thriving business known nationally as JOAN PATTERNS.

Mother of three, a native of Kansas City, Mo, a graduate of the Kansas City Art Institute with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, honorary master teacher and judge for the National Society of Tole and Decorative Painters are but a few of the interests involved with this talented person.

To me, her modesty and ability to remain sincere, although famous in “works” elevates the prestige. For those who know this personality, “the painter and the person” find her refreshing as the dew-drops that are now recognized as Joan Johnson. It is indeed a distinct pleasure to present the Foreword of this new design book, first in series from an exceptionally “Painter True”.

Ella L. Wilkerson
Corner Cupboard Crafts, Inc.,Lilburn, Ga.



Following is an excerpt from an "Acrylic Rose Bouquet" lesson that was published in Jan. 1990 in Decorative Arts Digest, written by Beth Browning, Editor.

About the Artist
Long before meeting Joan Johnson, I subscribed to her “Pattern of the Month” designs, bought her lesson packets, and every instruction book she and her husband, Howard, published. Like many of you, I marveled at the beautiful paintings and different techniques, especially the gorgeous realistic roses for which she is well known. Joan and Howard no longer publish the Pattern of the Month, some back issues are still available, but the books continue: in both oil and acrylic.

Joan, a charter member of the Society of Decorative Painters (SDP) became intriqued with decorative painting about a decade prior to the organizations formation. She also designed the SDP logo as well as the DAC logo. Joan earned her MDA (Master Decorative Artist) certification several years ago; has served as a certification judge and a judge for the DAEA competition sponsored by the SDP. I remembered her surprised look when she received the Society’s highest award, the Silver Palette. “A Painter True”, the title of three of her books, truly describes Joan. She began travel teaching in 1958 and for 30 years her efforts and energies in the decorative field have given her a personal satisfaction, especially in the ability to help others share her joy of painting.

Joan and Howard feel they’ve been fortunate to be able to make a living as a team, sharing their love of art with others. I think we are the fortunate ones.



This photograph is of Joan and I at HERR's, a Decorative Arts Distributor. Joan taught classes for advanced painters and I taught her “Blended Method” for beginning painters. This was my One and Only teaching class. We thought we would travel teach together in our retirement years. Joan was testing me. I think I passed the test. Well, retirement never came, per se. Joan’s untimely death in 1990 changed my life.

JOAN PATTERNS has kept a web page of all her patterns and books that were available. The web page was joanpatterns.com. This mail-order web site became limited as our stock was depleted of various items.

With this, our New E website we are offering ALL of Joan’s patterns, books and packets including the early 1960’s through the late 1980’s (with the exception of her 3 large "A Painter True" books. I plan to include them at a later time).

I’m excited! I hope you are too.

Howard Johnson,





Society of Decorative Painters

If you enjoy decorative art, learning new painting techniques and reading about what other decorative artists are doing, consider joining The Society of Decorative Painters.

For more information write to: SDP, 393 McLean Blvd., Wichita, KS 67203 or visit their website decorativepainters.org