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Meet the Artist: Judith Cantrell

BY BARBARA M. TOBIAS –

Judith Cantrell is one of the rising stars in our local art world. She is a soft-spoken, gentle, and very talented lady who creates exquisite drawings in several media. Her work has won some awards at Mena Art Gallery over the past few years. Her latest is a beautiful pastel drawing of a hawk.

Judith started making art ten or eleven years ago after having done nothing in that field since high school. But in 2002, she had a vision where she saw some beautiful paintings and knew that she was someday to create those.

Judith says she is basically self-taught by trying different things and pursuing those which worked for her. She started with pencil drawings, moved to working with pen and ink, and tried watercolor. Four or five years ago, she worked some with acrylics. But when she discovered pastel pencils, she felt she had found her medium. She likes the fine detail she can get with these better than the chalk used by many pastel artists.

At the November 2017 Ouachita Arts Celebration, Tommy Young (our local wildlife rehabber) brought some of his birds of prey. Judith managed to get a photograph from which she did the hawk portrait that was included in the recent Mena Art Gallery “Portrait of Arkansas” exhibit.

Judith has found that, for her, the best way to learn is to try whatever looks interesting, keep working on the things that succeed for her and reject the things that do not. Judith says, “If you just try to please other people, you lose the joy of creation.”

She is still pursuing the goal she saw in that vision so many years ago. “I haven’t seen them hanging on my wall yet, but I know I can get there.”

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