Thursday, January 21, 2021

DPW Spotlight Interview: Judy Rath

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings. To enter to win Judy's painting "Soaring Sky" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Judy's DPW Gallery Page:

I have been drawing all of my life. I am a self-taught artist and, while the internet is a wonderful place full of information to be learned, I fall back on my father’s teaching and my basic skills which include observation and interpretation.

Nature is my home. It teaches me endurance with pain and distress, joy in its constancy, relief in its solitude and knowledge that everything passes eventually and, despite all of the destruction humans visit upon it, it still stands strong. It will be here long after we are gone, still immutable, still beautiful.

Human structures are all simply tents, blowing in the wind and standing for just moments. We can celebrate them as temporary homes but our only true home is this earth and all it gives us. I paint that home, that awesome, welcoming, forbidding, vista of this land that I love.

Welcome to my home, our magnificent earth.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I’ve been painting and drawing all of my life but I only started to invest regular time in it in 2015. I set up a small area in my house as a work space and started playing with various media. Being retired made it so I wasn’t fighting work and housework to find time to paint. I had been making jewelry and was in a gallery in my town but decided to paint instead. I dove in headfirst and have never stopped and my studio grew with it.

Did you have any stops and starts in your painting career?

You know, I hesitate to call it a career as it is just part of me from as far back as I can remember, but, sure; family, jobs, life all gave me months and years of “stops and starts.” I always found time to sit and draw, though. Painting was added as my children left home but work still was the most critical. Food and shelter, etc. Retirement gave me all the time I wanted.

Soaring Sky
(click to view)

Enter to win by clicking on the link at the top of the DPW home page announcing Judy's interview.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

Which haven’t I? LOL! I need to be clear that I have no formal art training. I started with encaustics in 2015 and added acrylics, resin and alcohol inks. I dropped the encaustics and did mostly acrylic pours with resin and alcohol inks with resin, too. I enjoyed that for awhile but alcohol inks fade in UV light so I couldn’t sell originals, only giclees. Also, I found resin needed a clean room as dust and fur show and we have pets. You can guess my frustration!

I also am more of a representational artist and while I enjoy the occasional abstract, it’s not my forte. I wanted more control over my medium and acrylics gave me that but the fast drying time made it a challenge. I tried pastels and fell in love with them immediately and have been using them for almost a year now. I can make them as loose or as controlled as I wish.

Which ones have “stuck” and which ones have fallen away?

Pastels are my preference; acrylics, resin and alcohol inks occasionally. I’ve never been interested in oils and encaustics aren’t for me, either.

Sierra Nevada Morning
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I can’t think of any. I’m still learning about the ones I use.

Who or what inspires you the most?

Nature. This earth. The fact that it has and will survive everything humans can do or have done to it and still be the source of life, amazes me. We are so blessed and so many don’t ever think of it or stop to consider that, in the scheme of things, we are truly not that important. We are part of nature, not in charge of it and, as much as we destroy, it continues to thrive. Change, yes, but it will be here long after we are gone.

Twilight at Deer Meadow
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

My house. I don’t procrastinate with art, I procrastinate with housework. I’ll walk right by dust, unmade beds, etc. to get to my studio. I’ve put in too many years cleaning to give it anymore of my time, unless it’s absolutely necessary like kitchen (I love to cook) and bathrooms (thank goodness for Clorox). Those get attention.

What techniques work to ensure that you make time for your art?

Self interest and ignoring other things that need doing. I used to be a pleaser but, in my older years I’ve realized that I want to do what I want to do and, as long as I’m not hurting anyone, that’s what’s happening. I do work around appointments and the few commitments I make but those are few and far between now. I’m a hermit naturally so this year hasn’t been that much of a change. I paint when I want to. It’s lovely!

Kent Pond, VT
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I’d say the internet is my greatest source. I have a few photographers who have given me permission to use their work and public domain photos are a great source. My work doesn’t involve political or social commentary, other than respect of nature and the earth. It’s hard to miss/ignore the beauty of our world, even the smallest blade of grass has its place.

How do you keep art “fresh”?  What techniques have helped you avoid burnout and keep your work vibrant and engaging?

With everything out there from grass to trees to earth and sky, how could anything I paint not be full of wonder? There’s nothing more beautiful and “fresh” than every bit of nature!

Sunset at Flat Creek
(click to view)

What do you feel you are learning about right now as an artist?

I assume you mean techniques and art education and I admit I know none of this. I tried to learn all of the “rules” about composition, value, depth, structure, notans, etc. and I found it turned my pleasure into displeasure, made it a job instead of fulfillment, so I stopped “learning” and just painted. I’m not advocating that for anyone else. I’m just an untrained artist and, without an impressive CV, I don’t expect to be taken seriously. That’s fine. I love what I do.

What makes you happiest about your art?

Making it. Sitting down at my easel and choosing the substrate, the medium, the colors and using those as I choose. Some work well right away, some don’t but it’s all joy. I love sitting down and losing myself and coming back to awareness hours later. There’s nothing else like it and, as long as I’m able, that’s what I’ll do.

Western Highlands, Scotland
(click to view)

Thanks, Judy!

© 2021 Sophie Marine

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful work, Judy. Your use of color is inspiring. Like you, I feel drawn to nature and, in the past year I have moved to a house on the Chesapeake Bay. Here, surrounded by sea and sky, I have been more and more drawn in by the endless variety.

    ReplyDelete