Artist’s Statement

pastel painting of a winter landscape with tracks in a dirt road by Judy Howard

“Tracks & Shadows”

“I love art — all kinds and styles of art — but I am especially drawn to landscape painting, and that is what I have chosen to focus on in my own artwork. Landscapes can transport the viewer to new places or evoke memories of places already visited, and they often have a calming, refreshing effect.

Most of my soft pastel paintings portray scenes around northwest Arkansas. I like to study what I call the quiet places — a field along an old highway, the edge of a pond, an old gravel road, a small creek — scenes that most people drive by and don’t notice much.

The thing that first catches my interest is the light. Every artist says at some point it’s all about the light, but for me, it’s really about how that light reveals textures and patterns, highlights and shadows, rich colors and subdued tones. Using soft pastels, I manipulate the basic elements of art — line, shape, texture, color and value — to represent a certain place and time with depth and dimension.

These scenes often seem familiar and comfortable to viewers and bring back memories of similar places they’ve visited. I want viewers to appreciate all those textures, patterns and colors in the quiet places and simple scenes all around us.

Soft pastels are made of pure pigment combined with enough binders to hold the pigment particles together in stick form. I use a variety of brands of pastels in varying degrees of hardness or softness on sanded paper and colored pastel paper. The pigment particles catch and reflect light, giving the paintings sparkle and life that shifts as the light on the painting changes.

All of my paintings are matted and framed under glass in narrow gold metal frames.

I hope visitors enjoy my interpretations of the quiet places in the vibrant medium of soft pastels.”

— Judy Howard