Spotlight: Pippa Johnson an artist with eye for detail

Pippa Johnson with her art work.
Pippa Johnson with her art work. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

When Pippa Johnson produces an original image of an animal or bird, she has already learned and remembered so much that all of the details are there.

In fact, the same goes for anything the Columbia Elementary School fifth-grader portrays as a multimedia, representational artist who loves a realistic approach.

Pippa, who turns 11 on April 21, is the daughter of Bethany Barrett and Chris Johnson. Pippa lives in Bellingham with Barrett and her partner, Jasper McKay.

“She’s an incredible nature lover,” Barrett said. “Pippa is a very detailed artist.”

Pippa finds much of her inspiration as a member of Gabriel’s Art Kids, an after-school program run by Bellingham’s Gabriel Miles.

“All of our art instructors are pretty special,” Pippa said.

As much as she loves nature, the imaginative Pippa also finds inspiration in one of her 7-year-old brother Emmett’s favorite TV programs, “Clone Wars,” an animated spin-off of “Star Wars.”

“I like to draw scenes from it,” she said. “I enjoyed doing my drawing of a little dusty (otherworldly) village with turquoise.”

Pippa’s favorite medium, depending on the project, may be pastels. When she was 9, she accurately portrayed an elephant using charcoal, which is a lot tougher than it sounds.

She envisions a career in which her intense love for nature and art both play a part. She’s learning much as a member of the Explorers, a youth program of Wild Whatcom.

“Pippa has always really been drawn to art,” Barrett said. “She’s been lucky to have a teacher at Columbia who has introduced her to many mediums. Pippa has always been fascinated by every possible medium.”

For example, Pippa loves thin-tipped, multicolor pens — a challenge for any fifth-grader.

“She’s easy to buy gifts for,” said Barrett. “Art supplies are always at the top of her list.”

Pippa, who has learned piano, recently took up the violin. She also likes kung fu — “she’s very flexible” Barrett said — and finds doing cartwheels an absolute source of joy.


Spotlight shines on children 12 or younger who excel in arts or education and shares how their parents helped them achieve success.

To suggest a child to profile, send their name and a brief description of their accomplishments, along with a parent’s name and contact information, to newsroom@bellinghamherald.com.