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Art and Culture

Local painter, art teacher to be featured during studio tour

Copper Basin News of Kearny, Arizona

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Judith "Judy" Walsh is a painter and art instructor. She specializes in the ancient medium of encaustic.

Encaustic is a beeswax based paint containing oil paint or pigment. It has been traced back to the ancient Egyptians around 100 - 300 A.D. Early Greeks and Romans used the art form. Contemporary artists attracted to the versatility of encaustic are now using it.

Judy has been an encaustic painter for 18 years. At one time she was the only artist in Arizona doing encaustic.

Judy started her art career painting with acrylics and working with fiber. She participated in a two week encaustic workshop in Los Angeles and "fell in love with the medium" and has been working in encaustic ever since.

Judy uses bees wax, micro crystalline wax and oil paint in her encaustic. She applies layers of colored hot wax on a wood surface. She then scrapes, carves and sculpts the encaustic into a piece of art. She uses a "hot palette" to keep the different colored waxes at 200 degrees. Besides brushes she uses tools including an iron and blow dryer to heat and manipulate the encaustic. She does not start with a plan. She begins to paint spontaneously and responds to the paint, color and texture.

"Like a young child," she said, "I discover what I am painting while I paint; 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."

She added, "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." The Victoria Boyce Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona represents Judy. She has had a solo exhibition of her art there as well as the Showspace Gallery in Flagstaff and the Casa Grande Art Museum. She has been a featured artist at numerous galleries in Arizona including the Burton Barr Central Library in Phoenix, Arizona Gallery at the University of Arizona, Shemer Art Museum in Phoenix, Adobe Gallery in Oracle and the Hayden Library at Arizona State University in Tempe. Her work has also appeared at many group shows in Scottsdale, Sun City, Phoenix and Tucson. Some of her work can now be seen at the Adobe Gallery at the Triangle L Ranch in Oracle.

Judy teaches encaustic. She taught at the Shemer Art and oil. On her website she says "my paintings are an exploration of snippets of the world around me. I take the ordinary, overlooked scene and make it possible for the viewer to pause and appreciate a slice of life which is usually ignored."

If you visit her studio during the Oracle Artists Studio Tour you will be able to see some of her paintings, her "gargoyle guys" garden ornaments and her Route 89 road trip signs. These are hand painted wooden boxes of road signs that were seen while traveling on United States Highway Route 89. Many of her paintings and projects reflect images she has seen while collaborating with her husband's fascination with Route 89. If you are interested in Barbara's art or want to talk art with her visit her website:

Jim Cowlin is a landscape and nature photographer. He has been taking photographs for a long time. He started in the 1960s when he joined the Peace Corps and bought a camera to record his experiences teaching in Sierra Leone, Africa.

Jim says he has always been a story teller. He now tells stories with photographs. In 1976 he traveled around Arizona with Merrill Mahaffey, a landscape painter. As he traveled he "learned to see the land, to see how light reveals shapes and colors" he had "never imagined."

He became interested in the story of the land and for the next 25 years he spent time with his cameras in the Arizona Wilderness. In 1979 he spent a month backpacking the length of the Verde River. This journey became a story with Jim's photographs called "The Verde River Walk" which appeared in the 1980 August issue of Arizona Highways. He followed that up with three projects on the Colorado River. He produced two portfolios and a CD-Rom project on the Grand Canyon. Jim was honored to be one of 25 photographers whose photographs were chosen for the book "Lasting Light -125 Years of Grand Canyon Photography." His latest project or as he puts it his "never ending project" is U.S. Route 89 - The West's Most Western Highway. Jim has been photographing the land, places and people along the historical U.S. Route 89 for a long time. He is the founder of the Route 89 Appreciation Society. This project will take him and Barbara from Nogales, Arizona to Utah, a corner of Idaho, Wyoming and ending in Montana at the Canadian border. Along the way it passes through six national parks, and numerous national monuments and forests. Jim invites everyone including businesses and cultural and civic organizations to join the Route 89 Appreciation Society. Members are encouraged to travel on Route 89. He also shares his travels with anyone willing to join the Route 89 Appreciation Society or visit the website he has created.

On the website you will find his fine art photos along with pictures and stories about his journey along Route 89. Everything about Route 89 is on the website. There are maps, travel guides, Route 89 gifts, and members can share their stories and pictures on the website. There are also links to environmental preservation resources and sites. Jim has also given seminars about Route 89.

Jim's fine art photographs have been exhibited at the Saans Downtown Photography Studio and Art Gallery in Salt Lake City Utah. He was also part of a two man show "Go West One Road Two Visitors" at the Tucson International Airport. Jim is known as a staunch defender of our public lands and the environment. Lee Benson, a columnist for the Salt Lake City, Utah newspaper Deseret News calls Jim the Lord Protector & Patron Saint of Route 89. Although Jim is probably a long way from Sainthood, he is definitely on a crusade to capture the beauty, history, diversity, culture, charm and adventure of traveling on U.S. Route 89.

Come and join him and Barbara at their studio and on the "slow" road. If you would like to join or want more information about the U.S. Route 89 Society, their website is www.us89society. org. If you would like to view or purchase Jim's art contact him at (602)944-3286 or Email:

Copyright 2010 Copper Basin News, Kearny, Arizona. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: March 3, 2010

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