Judy Caldwell will be the featured artist at Gallery by The Bay for the months of September and October. A reception in her honor will be held from 5-7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7, at the gallery located at 2100 Union Ave. in North Bend. An original painting will be raffled at 6 p.m. and you must be present to win. Mark Tierney, guitarist from Bandon, will provide music for the event. You are invited to spend a social evening of fine art, great music, good food and beverages, including wine.

From a very early age Judy, the artist, was expressing herself with colored pencils given to her by her Uncle Earl who was a professional photographer at that time. He recognized her artistic gifts and allowed her to practice on the left-over photos from his studio. She learned quickly how to color the black and white throw-away images with those shiny new pencils, bringing life to their portraits. 

Learning the bone structure from different images, the shapes and shades of the faces of those who sat for their pictures to be taken, may have been the factor that later enabled her to become well-known and gifted portrait artist in oil, acrylic and pastels.

Judy considers herself to be self-taught, which to her means she had no formal education at the higher level, except through accomplished artists who visited her town setting up workshops in the area. She enrolled in every class available and worked in all mediums offered.

As she progressed through her acquired skills, her work gained recognition as being “fine art” and she was called upon to teach at local colleges, art studios, and the adult education program.

During that phase in her life she preferred representational/realistic painting to the loosely painted abstract style which was quickly gaining popularity around her. Her favorite medium was working in pastels and she gives credit to her favorite teacher, Lora Block. Judy says, “I loved doing pastels and especially admired Lora’s work, I wanted to paint just like she painted, as did all of her students."  

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Many moves from places around the world transpired during her life. But when Judy, her husband, Glen, and her daughter, Lily, moved to Coos Bay in 2012 I recognized her many gifts as an artist; her skills in, and experience in, setting up gallery shows. I asked Judy to become my co-director of Gallery by The Bay. The objective of Gallery by The Bay is to showcase local artists.

She and Sharon Leahy collaborated to do a show the following year. The show was successful for both artists. Judy’s work featured her early representational/realistic work and was a delight to all viewers.

Then she changed direction to make her entry into the world of the abstract. Judy had broken with the traditional realismn of her past finding her place in the world. Using her stream of consciousness while standing before her canvas, with brushes in hand, she waited and was open for inspiration. There is of course, much thought going into such an endeavor prior to the brush stroking the board. Her swirls, twists, turns, circles sometimes in soft colors created her quiet nature while other times her brilliant dashing strokes of reds and purples captures the imagination of the viewer. In this September and October’s one-woman show, the artist has made generous use of silver, gold and copper leaf to enhance her statements in abstract.

A friend and an admirer of her work, Chava, says it better than I, “Judy’s abstract paintings not only display mastery over colors, but also draw the imagination into realms unexpected. Like butterflies, ideas visit, sometimes in instants of great insight, sometimes in waves of recognition, or even emotions from abstracted color-scapes recalling familiar horizons and dearest landscapes, not always made of 'land.'"

This show will be strictly in abstract. We will be able to view for ourselves the excitement Judy brings to her newest adventure — into this, her break-out expression in art.

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