Judy Pickett received her BA in education from Stetson University. She gained most of her art education from local classes. She is a member of International Encaustic Artists and their Florida chapter, FL Wax. As an emerging artist, Judy has participated in many group shows with Florida Wax, and independently in local juried shows. She is currently a contributing artist at Soft Water Gallery in St Petersburg, FL
Judy resides in Orlando, FL where she uses the bright Florida sun to create her artwork. Combining cyanotype printmaking and encaustic painting, she creates. It is a union of form and texture.
Ever since I can remember, I have been inspired by the my surroundings. Even as a young girl growing up on the beach, in South Florida, I collected shells, palm leaves and seeds to use in my creations. Later in life, I got my degree in elementary education at Stetson University. After graduation, I moved back to the beach, getting a teaching position in New Smyrna. I loved biking on the beach, enjoying the beautiful Florida weather. When my husband and I moved to Orlando for his job, I decided to go back to school for interior design to embrace my creative side a bit. I did office interiors until the late 90s, when I left the work force and to become a stay at home mom to my new daughter and later my son. This is when I really began to feel my place in the world. As an educator and someone who had a creative side I felt complete, teaching my kids and introducing them to the wonders around them. I loved the years at home with my children. When they started school I started a faux finishing business so I could work around the family schedule because my life was all about my family. As the they got into middle school, I designated a little time for myself. I enrolled in an encaustics class. I knew nothing of this medium but it turned out to be such a great class for me!
Encaustic is a type of painting done with paint made from beeswax, demar resin and pigment. At room temperature the paint is at a solid state but when warmed up to 175-200 degrees it becomes molten. As you brush it on your surface, it almost instantly hardens again to a solid. Each time you add a layer of paint it must be heated with a heat gun or torch to fuse the layers together. This heating can create beautiful results but it can also create a bit of chaos as the colors blend and move. I found this medium to be very freeing as it taught me to let go a little.
Still focusing mainly on my family, I continued to dabble in encaustic for the next couple of years. I also continued to explore other art forms. When I was introduced to the alternative photography method, known as cyanotype, I was hooked! Cyanotype uses photosensitive paper to develop an image without a camera. It creates beautiful blue and white images by laying an object or a negative onto the paper and exposing it in the sun. It's magic!
Soon I began combining the two mediums. I loved the results. I am lucky to live in Florida where I can play in the sun most of the year and where I have beautiful tropical plants from which to create my photograms. There is something special about planning a cyanotype print in a darkened room then bringing it into the light to see a new form appear. I start in the morning, laying out designs of plant life on to the light sensitive paper made the night before. It is a joyful time that harkens back to raising my children. As I lay the designs in the sun and wait to see what the sun will make, I feel like a child myself. When the sun has done its job, I rinse and soak the image. I watch the creation happen before my eyes. After the print is thoroughly rinsed, dried and developed, I adhere it to a wood panel. I then smooth the hot encaustic paints over the entire surface, bringing the image to life with light and texture. The union is complete.
Now an empty nester, I create!