Judy Downs

Judy Downs


Creating works of art has been an important part of my life since the age of 4. It was the way I found joy and a way to express myself. I began to take my work seriously in 1969 after my second child was born. Over the last 45 years, showing my work has been limited to private showings in my studio once or twice a year, art fairs and in group shows outside my home. I graduated from the University of California at Santa Cruz with a BA and one year of post graduate work in art in 1992.

After visiting Kenya and Tanzania three times from 1987 to 1992, I felt compelled to paint images of the Maasai and Samburu Tribal peoples and the wildlife there. The inspiration for my work coves from fond memories, sketches and photographs taken during these visits. I was also fortunate to have been involved in volunteer work at an animal compound in Salinas, California, where I had the freedom to visit, paint and sketch many of the wildlife housed there.

Artists who have influenced me include: Morten Solberg, Judy Wagner, Arne Westerman, Ben Konis, Fred Colbus, Hardy Hansen, Jenny McDade, Patrick Aherne, Eduardo Carillo, Bob Gerbracht, Don Weygant, Kay Metz, and, most recently, Hedi Moran and Phil Beck. My thanks also go out to countless other artists whose work 'sings' to me and inspires me to learn from the way they do art themselves.

While making a living from my art is an aspiration, my main goal now is to glorify the Lord God and His word and to work by using His gift to me in a ministry I have yet to learn. I will continue to explore, learn and improve on my ideas and creativity. Teaching others to 'see' the shapes and colors of the world around us has always been and continues to be a particular joy of mine. I feel that the process of painting is continuous, not a means to an end. I am always surprised and a little disappointed when I reach the completion of a work.

Until recently, I practiced full time as a registered nurse. Currently, I work two days a week in the medical field and try to paint the remaining 5 days.

I first exhibited my work in 1972 at the Arizona State Fair. At the same time I taught beginning painting classes to over 700 students in a three year period. During that time, I also participated in 8 group shows in the Stockton and Sacramento California areas.

Group shows in the last 25 years include the following:

1988 Outdoor Painters' workshop show, Bridge Gallery, UCSC
1990 Senior Show, Baskin Studio, UCSC
1991 Fifth Year Graduate Show, Mary Porter Seson Gallery, UCSC
1992 A.R.T. Studios Show, Santa Cruz County
1994 Santa Cruz Art League 'Point of View' Show
1993-2002 Cultural Council of Santa Cruz Open Studios Tour Show
2002 East African Elephant Rescue Society Art Show
2002 SPLAT Art Tour Show Santa Cruz California
2002 Hearts for the Arts Show, Santa Cruz California
2004 Mountain Artist Annual Art Show, Prescott, Arizona
1998 - 2005 Numerous art festivals in Northern and Southern California

Wild Animals