Aaah, finally the heat has broken. The last few years of warming summers have made it difficult for our area plein-air artists, working outdoors directly from nature, to continue their summer habits. Now, the beauty of autumn calls to our local artists.
One artist who loves this time of year is Judy Archuleta, of Cerro. Anyone who viewed her work at this past summer’s Questa Art Tour would notice her love of color. “The flowers may be dying,” Judy says, “but when the sky is so bright blue and ribbons of orange cottonwoods are running down the mountains beneath it, and the aspens are bursting with color — what could be more breathtaking?”
Judy always considered herself shy, but when she discovered art, it was a medium for self-expression that allowed her true self to shine. Judy was artistic even as a child, submitting sketches to newspaper contests when as young as age eight, though there was no budget for the luxury of art lessons in her hard-working family.
She lived in Texas briefly as a young adult, then returned to New Mexico to build a house and business in Taos in the 1970s. Pastels became her medium, since this media was less expensive and would not deteriorate due to lack of use, as she was busy juggling her time between artistic expression and raising three daughters.
The pastel drawings she posted at her business caught the eye of Taos pastel artist Ouray Meyers, who invited her to attend one of his private classes at which she learned many techniques to better her growing skills.
Judy returned to Cerro 20 years ago to tend to aging family members and grandchildren. She turned to painting more frequently, working now in oils and acrylics, capturing landscapes from the dramatic scenery of northern New Mexico, especially our sunsets. For a time, she successfully marketed postcards of the area.
Judy loves the outdoors, though often completes a painting back in her studio using photos as reminders. She does not work fast, but prefers to sit with a work and feel the direction its elements want to take. Often, she will add to a painting from memories of a time before the facts of a scene included decaying structures, for example. She may add a detail from another time or another location to fill a void in the balance of a painting.
Her work is still done around family obligations, though she feels now that she has come into her own and is painting the work she always dreamed of. Judy is always encouraged by the many seasons life brings and by the support of her faith. She works to record God’s creation with her talents, and to bless those who view and display her art.
See more images of Judy’s work at her Artist Profile Page on Questa Creative Council’s website: QuestaCreative.org/judy-archuleta/