Portrait of local Artist Judith Walsh

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Judith Walsh.tif

Judith Walsh works in her studio. (Skylar Khan photo)

By Skylar Khan


Special to the Crier

A pioneer of encaustic painting in Arizona for the past 20 years, Oracle artist Judith Walsh is in the process of preparing her new collection for the upcoming Oracle Artists’ Studio Tour. Her encaustic paintings and unique handmade jewelry pieces will be available for sale at the event.

Encaustic painting, according to Walsh, is a subtle, subconscious act: “I can do whatever I want. I don’t have to follow any rules.”

In a soft-spoken manner she explains that encaustic is a beeswax based paint containing oil paint or pigments. It was used by the early Greeks, Romans and Egyptians and is now being used by contemporary artists who are attracted to its versatility.

“My work as an artist is the process I go through to trick and frustrate that part of me that follows rules, uses logic and sees the world the way it really is.”

“My work is about that which lies below the surface… the hidden, the unconscious, the transparent, and the vaguely remembered dream which is just beyond our ability to give it form. Painting spontaneously without plan, I respond directly to the paint, color and texture. Images form and reform, dissolve and resolve in a non-logical way. Over time, shapes and symbols reappear without my conscious decision to use them.”

In the hot summer months, when heat makes it difficult to work with wax, Walsh turns her talents to making jewelry. She blends semi-precious stones with handmade silver pieces to create funky-elegant, wearable objects d’art.

Her works have been exhibited in Phoenix, Tucson and New Orleans galleries. Some of her creations are currently available at a gallery in Sarasota, FL and at a museum gift shop in Myrtle Beach, NC.

Judith Walsh has a degree in literature from St. Louis University and she has studied studio art and art history at the University of Vienna, Austria and Arizona State University.

Walsh relates that she started painting around the time when her mother was dying. Painting proved to be therapeutic, allowing a flood of feelings to find expression on canvas. Images perceived on a subconscious level somehow appeared in her paintings. She does not know where they came from.

Her gentle, easygoing demeanor belies a deep-rooted passion for artistic expression that, at times, included glass, ceramics and fiber.

Never one to remain idle, Walsh has been part of the local artists’ group that organizes the annual Oracle Artists’ Studio Tour in the Spring, and the Holiday Arts and Crafts Fair between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Walsh currently lives in Oracle, where she works and teaches in her rural studio, hikes with husband Jim and an awesome dog named Bella. She enjoys being part of a community of artists who critique and support each other.

A sample of Walsh’s handwriting reveals how certain personality traits affect and support her artistic expressions.

[See graphic 1]

Intellectual independence is revealed in the letter t in her signature. The t is no larger than the other lower case letters: “I can do whatever I want. I don’t have to follow any of the rules.”

However, other ts in the text are the same height as the capital letters, indicating to us that the lady takes pride in her achievements and that she works very hard to produce high quality pieces of art.

Included in the word exhibitions is a barely visible break between the letters i and b. This is graphic expression of intuition. She declared: “shapes and symbols reappear without my conscious decision to use them.”

The word exhibitions ends with an elegantly arched stroke combining the o and n. This shows fluidity of thought and an inner need to apply ones hands creatively.

Lower loops of the letter y consistently return to the baseline. This indicates that the writer finishes what she sets out to do and that she keeps her promises and honors her obligations.

The overall writing pressure is on the light side which, again, enhances intuition and allows for an easy transfer of subconscious impulses to the images being created.

Form and size of her signature are congruous with text: this confirms the presence of sincerity and modesty in the personality.

Judith Walsh will be presenting her works at the Ned and Diana Creighton Studio at 824 S. Coronado Ridge Road in Oracle during the Oracle Artists’ Studio Tour on May 4 and 5, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Over 20 local artists will be showing their creations at different studio locations. A sample of each artist’s work will be exhibited in the Studio Tour Welcome Center located at 1880 W. American Avenue in Oracle.

For more information, please call Skylar Khan at 896-2428 or visit www.oraclestudiotour.com.

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Graphic 1

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