Artwork by local artist Eva Johnson, who is celebrating her 100th birthday
this year, includes oil paintings on saws and saw blades. Photo by Nate Larson

Local artist sells paintings

By Naomi Haley
Staff Writer

Local artist Eva Johnson recently celebrated her 100th birthday.

To commemorate this event, Johnson is having a "100th Birthday Exhibition" at the Lafayette Savings Bank.

After retiring 40 years ago, Johnson decided to begin oil painting.

"I picked up a paint brush one day and just never stopped," said Johnson.

Johnson was born in 1897 and held several jobs before retiring. Her employment history includes a position at an aluminum plant during World War II and a job in the Purdue Memorial Union in the 1920s preparing food for banquets and other activities.

According to Hillary Eddie, another local artist and art coordinator for the Lafayette Savings Bank, nearly half of Johnson's paintings have been sold at the exhibition.

"The exhibition began Jan. 30 and has obviously done very well with the public," said Eddie. "Nearly half of the 35 paintings which were on display have been sold."

Johnson has had great success at selling paintings in the past at other exhibitions and open houses as well.

"I have even had some famous artists who aren't from around here buy my paintings," Johnson said. "That is a wonderful feeling."

According to Johnson, she never aspired to become as successful as she has with her art work.

"All I set out to do in the beginning was to paint because I love it so much," she said.

She is a self-taught oil painter, according to Eddie.

"This is not common because oil painting is quite difficult," she said. "However, Eva has an amazing sense of color. She is incredible and I think it is her spirit that makes her so good."

Johnson's art work consists mainly of still-life and scenic paintings portraying animals.

"I like to see life in my paintings," said Johnson. "It's kind of like my signature. I like to see my paintings full of color and full of life."

Johnson also creates scenic paintings on saw blades, which make beautiful wall decorations, according to Johnson.

"I have quite a few people buy those as well," she said. "They don't take as long to finish as painting on a canvas does. But no matter how short or long it takes to finish a piece of art, I enjoy it all just the same."

  • The "100th Birthday Exhibit" featuring oil paintings by

    Eva Johnson will be held at the Lafayette Savings Bank branch on the corner of Sagamore and Greenbush through March 18. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Friday.

    This article originally appeared on March 5, 1998, in the Purdue Exponent, the Purdue University newspaper which does a good job of reporting on the arts. The Purdue Exponent, 460 Northwestern Ave., West Lafayette, IN 47906. Tel.: (765) 743-1111. Naomi Haley was a Staff Writer for the Exponent when she wrote this story.