About Michael Chesley Johnson

“As a landscape painter, I consider myself to be a Steward of the Land.  My country’s national parks, monuments and other protected natural areas are vital to our generation and to those that follow.  With that in mind, I aim to both preserve and promote these places in my work.”

One of the country’s top plein air painters, Michael works in oil and pastel in the American Southwest, coastal Maine and the Canadian Maritimes. He has been an invited artist to many national plein air painting events over the years and has competed in challenging locations such as the Grand Canyon.

Elected a Master Pastellist by Pastel Artists Canada in 2008, he is a Signature Member of the American Impressionist Society, the Pastel Society of America and the Pastel Society of New Mexico.  He is the author of Backpacker Painting: Outdoors with Oil & Pastel and Outdoor Study to Studio: Take Your Plein Air Paintings to the Next Level. A long-time contributor to Pastel Journal and Contributing Editor for The Artist’s Magazine, he lives, paints and teaches on Campobello Island, New Brunswick, and in Sedona, Arizona. Michael also specializes in teaching small-size plein air workshops in oil and pastel for the intermediate and advanced level painter and for painters desiring mentoring.

Michael’s long-time mentor was Ann Templeton, who counted among her mentors Sergei Bongart and William F. Reese, until her passing in 2011.  Michael has also studied with Albert Handell, Doug Dawson, Bob Rohm, Lois Griffel and others.

MPAC, Master Pastellist, Pastel Artists Canada
AIS, Signature Member, American Impressionist Society
PSA, Signature Member, Pastel Society of America
PSNM, Signature Member, Pastel Society of New Mexico
Juried Member, International Plein Air Painters

Founder, Plein Air Painters of the Bay of Fundy
Founder, “Two Countries, One Bay” Open Studio Tour, Quoddy Artists Studio Tour 
Charter Member, Landscape Artists International

Faculty Member, Sedona Arts Center, Sedona, AZ


Michael is honored to be named a Gamblin Dedicated Workshop Instructor. Using only the finest art materials in his paintings, he uses Gamblin Artists Colors and is versed in these products and their application. Michael uses Gamblin paints in his Downeast Maine and Arizona plein air painting workshops.


Michael has taught at workshop centers and for art groups such as the following: Northwest Pastel Society (Gig Harbor, WA); Green Drake Gallery (Milheim, PA); Art Barn (Valparaiso, IN); Acadia Workshop Center (Southwest Harbor, ME); Sedona Arts Center (Sedona, AZ); Old Forge Arts Center (Old Forge, NY); Sunbury Shores Art & Nature Centre (St Andrews, NB); Pastel Artists Canada (Burlington, ON); New Hampshire Plein Air (Goffstown, NH); Pastel Painters Society of Cape Cod (Barnstable, MA); York Art Association (York, ME): Springfield Area Pastelists (Springfield, IL); Los Reyes Gallery (Tubac, AZ); Bay River Art Guild (Daphne, AL); Roswell Museum (Roswell, NM); Hubbard Museum of the American West (Riudoso, NM); ArtCenter Traverse City (Traverse City, MI); Lawrence Academy (Lawrence, MA); Vermont Pastel Society (Montpelier, VT); Cloudcroft Art Workshops (Cloudcroft, NM); Mid-Atlantic Plein Air Painters Association (Baltimore, MD); Water Street Studios (Batavia, IL); Eastport Arts Center (Eastport, ME); Pastel Society of El Paso (El Paso, TX); Ellis County Art Association (Waxahachie, TX); Middlebury Studio School (Middlebury, VT); Toledo Artists Club (Toledo, OH); Wilmington Art Association (Wilmington NC); Coastal Maine Art Workshops (Rockland, ME); Tucson Pastel Society (Tucson, AZ); Central Ohio Plein Air (Columbus OH).

Share This