Johanna Pieterman was born in Goes, the Netherlands in 1966 into a shipping family. The nomadic existence inspired her from early childhood and for as long as she can remember she was always happiest with a box of pencils and some paper.
Her first commissioned portraits were completed at the age of 16, and she has never looked back. Johanna studied Graphic Design, and after spending many years developing her own style in coloured pencils, her first major solo exhibition took place in 1991 in Antwerp, Belgium. The following years saw her create many more pieces, refine her style and build an identity in the art world, with exhibitions in Belgium, the Netherlands and the UK. Her work can be found in many private collection around the world.
Her work includes fantasy portraits and illustrations for book and CD covers, for a wide range of international customers, including the rock guitarist Ritchie Blackmore. Other popular work inspired by Stevie Nicks has seen Johanna’s art mentioned in US publications such as Jane’s Magazine and Entertainment Weekly.
'I always like to think I am a composer and a poet... with pencils. The story unfolds in an image, in the process of creation. I don't know in advance what tale will be told through my hands, it is always a mystery. And what truly is the greatest happiness for me is to be able to sit at my drawing table and let the images come.'
Johanna lives on Orkney, Scotland, together with her husband Chris and their feline friends. The beautiful islands that she calls home are a big inspiration with Pictish and Viking influences all around. Living in a wild environment like this makes each season be truly felt, with sea and wind a constant. The natural flowing motion of the sea and its marine life, including the dolphins Johanna has incorporated in her art for many year, is something that finds its way into her artwork in the form of a search for harmony in each piece as well as a natural flowing motion akin to the graceful motions of swimming dolphins, seals, orcas and any other marine life. The first Greek word for dolphin was Delphys, meaning 'womb', is what best illustrates this idea.
Inspired not only by where she lives, Johanna draws on Celtic, Art Nouveau and Pre-Rafaelite sources to influence her work as well. A portrait by Johanna transcends mere reproduction of the chosen subject, but includes a plethora of different ideas around the centre person or animal in the piece.