“Observing Observing (a white cup): Judy Nimtz”

With each exhibition, we will post interviews with the participating artists along with a photo of said artists in their studios and images of their work. In the future, we will post videos of artist interviews.

“Observing Observing (a white cup)” opens September 12th and continues through October 31, 2015

Curated by Eric Elliott, Michael Howard & Norman Lundin. More than twenty artists (both gallery artists and not) accepted the invitation to submit work.

Reception for the artists, Sept. 12, 2 – 4 pm

Artist Interview #18: Judy Nimtz


1. How did you respond to the idea of the white cup?

I was excited about the challenge. How do I make the white cup personal and interesting to me? At first I had some pretty complex ideas but in the end chose a cup that I wanted to spend time with – my husband’s favorite coffee mug, which has a glaze finish I love. It’s organic and uneven; you can see the terra cotta clay showing through in areas. Painting the mug, mentally caressing it, ‘feeling’ the undulations was similar to painting one of my figures.

2. Are you a full time artist, if not how do you support your art?

I am a full time artist. Over the years I have supplemented my art income with various project-based jobs.

3. When did you consider yourself an artist?

I’ve always considered myself an artist but as an adult wasn’t comfortable saying it to others until my first solo exhibition.

4. What are your influences?

19th century academic artists, Pre-Raphaelites, artists of the Renaissance period, various fantasy artists, books, music, travel, being out in nature – in particular I get inspired by rainy, grey, stormy weather, and large rocks.

5. How big is your studio, what kind of lighting?

My studio is in our garage, approximately 250 sq ft. I prefer natural light and have a diffused skylight, but I also have various spot and fluorescent lights that allow me to paint at night or control the light as needed.

6. What is a typical day in the studio like for you? Do you listen to music, radio or tv in your studio?

I try to get into the studio early, I feel I’m most productive in the mornings and daytime, but I’ll paint anytime really. I typically paint for about 5 hours, and will also work in my office on my computer figuring out compositions and doing Photoshop manipulation. I listen to a combination of NPR, music, and audio books. What I listen to is pretty important, if there is a certain mood I’m trying to convey or that I want to be in while I’m working I’ll make sure I listen to the appropriate music or audio books. I almost never work in silence; my mind wanders too much to things not pertaining to art if I do.

7. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?

I primarily work in oils. I’m usually working on more than one painting at a time and also smaller studies in preparation for future paintings. Because of this I make extensive notes on each painting to help me keep track of what I’m doing on the different paintings.

8. Do you have any special or unique tools, devices or process that you use in your art making?

Reference photo shoot

For my figure paintings I work from photo references I’ve taken. I’m not interested in copying the photo and will do a bit of Photoshop manipulation to them before moving on to making the studies. I often paint from a black and white image because I’m more interested in values than the color information in the photos. For about 10 years now I’ve been using a computer monitor for my references instead of printing the image. This allows me to zoom in or out as needed as well as enables me to manipulate an image while I’m painting. I like to think I’m saving a few trees in the process.

9. What do you do outside the studio, aside from a job?

Spend time with my husband, who is also an artist. Physical fitness and health is important to me in general and painting can be fairly physical at times so I try to keep myself strong. Recently I’ve begun swimming laps, and getting in the water a few times a week also helps ease my homesickness a little (I’m from Hawai’i). I love watching movies and discussing them, reading, cooking, having a glass of wine with friends, spending time in the yard. My husband and I travel quite a bit, usually turning each trip into a painting adventure!

"Caffè", 2015, oil on panel, 9 3/8 x 7"

“Caffè”, 2015, oil on panel, 9 3/8 x 7″

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