The Five Wings Arts Council invites the public to a reception in celebration of "Just Paint," an exhibition of the most recent works by Staples artist Diana Johnson.

The opening reception will be from 5-7 p.m. Thursday, May 26 at the Five Wings Gallery, which is located within Five Wings Arts Council and can be accessed at the west entrance of 121 Fourth Street NE, Staples. The exhibit, which continues through June 17, is open for viewing during business hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Diana Johnson took on a personal challenge of creating one new painting each weekday for a year and posting her progress on her blog, This exhibit, "Just Paint," catalogs the growth and change of her style and skill over the course of that 12 month period.

Over 250 small works were the result, created using a variety of mediums, from oil to pencil. Her subject matter varied widely and ranged from landscapes to olives, and portraits to pine cones.

Johnson's desire to improve her painting skills drove her to start this challenge. She used the internet as her classroom by watching hundreds of "How To" videos by other artists on their techniques and process.

In reflecting upon the year of dedicated painting she said, "My hope was that painting consistently would make me better at my art and I feel it has done that. What came as a surprise though, was how much this challenge changed the way I see. At the end of the year, I believe my biggest lesson learned is that painting well is more about really seeing the world around you than mixing the right colors or applying the best brush stroke."

The Five Wings Arts Council is one of eleven regional arts councils in Minnesota. Its mission is to encourage and promote arts creation, appreciation, and education through grant programs and technical assistance in order to enhance the quality of life for Minnesota residents in Cass, Crow Wing, Morrison, Todd and Wadena Counties. It distributes funds allocated from the Minnesota State Legislature through the Arts and Cultural Heritage fund and legislative appropriation, as well as funds provided by the McKnight Foundation.

If you have further questions, please call (877) 654-2166 or email