The Artist

Joni Johnson-Godsy grew up in small town Ohio. Her love of animals started from her first memories as a child and was a passion that grew even stronger over time. In her youth she spent countless hours exploring the creeks and woods near her family’s home, watching the wildlife that was typical in that part of the Midwest. Her curiosity about nature and love of the outdoors was inexhaustible.

Joni studied fine art at Ohio State University and went on to art school at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, PA where she graduated with honors. Upon graduation she secured a position as a greeting card illustrator with Hallmark Cards Inc. which required a re-location to the Kansas City area.

red fox painting
Joni created illustrations for Hallmark Cards for twenty one years, having her work published and sold on Hallmark products in North America and Europe. As time passed, her artistic focus made the inevitable change to that of wildlife. In 2001 she decided that the time had come to dedicate her energies toward her passion for art and nature. She became a part-time employee at Hallmark, dividing her time between two very different artistic disciplines. Her wildlife paintings garnered immediate attention from national exhibitions and collectors and it became apparent that a full-time effort was needed to pursue this endeavor. Joni left Hallmark in the summer of 2006 to give her full attention to wildlife painting.
Joni with elephant
For Joni, painting wildlife is not just about paint and canvas. She prioritizes time for travel to experience the animals she portrays in her paintings in their own wild homes. First hand observation, field sketches, photographs and field notes are an integral part of learning not only what an animal looks like, but how it behaves. Whether witnessing the drama of the African bush, the mystery of a tropical rainforest, or the icy chill of a mountain breeze, Joni is equally enthusiastic about all natural life around her.
kudu Joni Johnson-Godsy and a Gray Jay
Joni Johnson-Godsy and a Gray Jay
Joni’s paintings have won numerous awards and can be found in private collections across the country. Her work has graced the cover and interiors of magazines and adorns a variety of products sold all over North America and Europe. It is Joni’s greatest wish to encourage enthusiasm for nature in others. That is what her art is all about.
Mountain Goats
Joni with bushmen

Red Fox Painting


Society of Animal Artists (Signature Member)


People’s Choice Award….Art Of the Animal Kingdom…2004

Award of Excellence…Society of Animal Artists, Art and the Animal…2005

Award of Excellence…NatureWorks…2007

Buyer’s Choice Award…MasterWorks in Miniature…2008

Best in Show (miniature)…NatureWorks…2008

Best in Show…Artistic Design Gallery small works exhibition…2009

Top 100…Paint the Parks 2009


Wildlife Art…Feature article “Compelling Images” Nov/Dec 2004

Sporting Classics…Home Decor…July 2005

Fur-Fish-Game…80th anniversary edition cover…November 2005


NatureWorks, Tulsa, OK

South Eastern Wildlife Exposition, Charleston, SC

Art of the Animal Kingdom, Bennington, VT

Society of Animal Artists “Art and the Animal”

Society of Animal Artists “Small Works Exhibition”

Masterworks in Miniature…Mentor, OH

Decoys and Wildlife Gallery, Small Painting Exhibitions, NJ

Ohio Masters, Mentor, OH

Paint the Parks

The Easton Waterfowl Festival, Easton, MD

Artists for the New Century, Bennington, VT

Art For Conservation

joni with birds