Katherine Johnson – Mixed Media Painting


Who is she?

Katherine Johnson was a computer for NASA, back when it was a job description, not a machine. She and a number of other Black women answered the call when NASA was looking for women to work in their fledgeling space program.

What did she do?

One of the West Area Computers, Katherine Johnson did the calculations that astronauts relied on for some of America’s earliest space travel. She was so good at her job, even after the electronic computer had been invented, astronaut John Glenn requested that Johnson personally check the machine’s calculations before he took off for his mission on Friendship 7.

Why does that matter?

Katherine Johnson and other pioneers in her field are living proof that women have a place in science and technology. Without her efforts, American astronauts would not have left this planet when they did, and humanity would not know as much about Earth’s place in the universe.

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Visual Storytelling in Mixed Media

This painting is a mixed media portrait from my ongoing series Women Behaving Badly. The series celebrates women who were leaders, activists, and innovators in a variety of fields. From  worker’s rights to Bluetooth technology, Title 9 to the Nobel Peace Prize, these women and their work profoundly shaped our modern world. This series strives to tell their stories of bravery, determination, and relentless rule breaking. After all, well behaved women seldom make history.

Each piece features a watercolor portrait with a collaged background of photos, colors and textures which tell the story of each  woman’s life, deeds, and the times she lived in. See individual listings for full details including dimensions, media, and each subject’s biographical information.


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