I live for those “stop the car!” moments in life. You know those moments when something in our world is so beautiful you need to pull over to drink in the wonder of the landscape. If I’m lucky, I have a camera with me, if I’m really, really lucky I have my paints and paper.
Greetings readers, I’m Judy Levins and I’m an artist. My first love of mediums is watercolor. I have been known to stray occasionally, but will always come back as it’s the only medium, that for me, is pure magic.
I fell in love with watercolor at a young age when Lon Watters, a relative that was an accomplished painter, gave me my first lesson. He asked me, “what color is a tree?” Of course I answered brown, he then painted a glorious, juicy, splashy orange and purple tree. I think my brain exploded and I was instantly hooked.
My school days were filled with art as I participated in everything I could that involved creativity, from painting backdrops for theatre to designing logos, posters and holiday decorations. I went on to The New England School of Art and Design in Boston, Massachusetts where I majored in Illustration/Fashion Illustration. After college, I taught figure drawing and textile rendering at The New England School of Fashion Design while I freelanced my illustration work.
I currently reside in Upstate New York and belong to and volunteer with many art organizations including a plein air group, Mountain Air Painters, that gathers weekly to paint in the glorious beauty of the Adirondacks. I’m a fast, loose, impressionistic painter which works well for the plein air world. One needs to get down as much information as one can as the light will change in a second.
Recently, I was asked where do I find inspiration for my art? Like all artists, light plays a strong role as well as the natural world. I’m fortunate that my part of our world has much to offer from pastural settings to mountains, lakes and rivers; all of which inspires me. On those days when I find myself without ideas, I grab my camera and go for a drive looking for that “stop the car” scene.
Many of my landscapes have roads and rivers in them. I like having a path or direction leading one through a scene, it lends toward the feeling of motion. I don’t want my work to be still, I like energy. Even my portrait work I prefer to paint somebody in action vs. still and posed. I try to create a mood for the viewer to experience something. Love it or hate it, I’m thrilled because something I created caused an emotion. That alone is inspiring, the feeling of connecting to others through your work.
Watercolor can be a difficult medium because of its unpredictable nature. I actually find that to be one of its most appealing attributes. When we allow the medium to do what it knows to do and respect it, beautiful things can happen. One of my ways to be more confident with watercolor is to be consistent with my materials. My thinking is to get to know my tools like the back of my hand, have them become second nature.
I am a loyal Arches cold press painter, for the most part I use 140 pound cold press. I stick to one brand of paint, Daniel Smith Extra Fine Watercolors and my brushes are a large mop brush, a one inch flat, a hake and a rigger. Rosemary & Co is a great resource for brushes. I firmly believe putting in the brush miles is the only sure path to grow as an artist. After all it’s called art work for a reason, though when you love what you do it never feels like work.
I’m a daily painter and I tutor students in my home studio as well as teach larger workshops for groups. I think teaching is a way to connect, to help others and at the same time help your own growth. I hope that some day I can paint a purple and orange tree for a budding young artist and hook the next generation for the incredible journey that watercolor teaches as one paints their world.Recommended4 recommendationsPublished in