Mohegan Island Studio | Maine
Monhegan is a small rocky island ten miles from the nearest mainland and scarcely a square mile in area. It is accessible only by boat and is primarily a walking island. Since the 1800s the island’s two primary economies are fishing and tourism. Lobster traps line the unpaved roads that lead to the village and cliffs that attract so many to this special place. Monhegan Associates, a private non-profit, owns and maintains most of the ‘wildlands’ that feature 9 miles of hiking trails leading to the highest ocean cliffs on the Maine coastline. Monhegan has long been a destination for artists and art lovers and there are ample opportunities to enjoy both, including artist studios, crafts co-op, and the Monhegan Museum of Art and History.
While exploring this pristine island I turned a corner and discovered a wonderful Artist named Judy Caldwell. Judy was kneeling on the weathered boards of a small bridge. I was curious about the many canvases which were tacked to the grooved indentations in the wooden beams of the bridge.
The bridge had attracted her due to the many years of being out in the elements. Judy was intrigued by the history of whose feet had traversed the bridge and the artful designs that were left there.
She was rubbing paint, charcoal, chalk & anything she could to project the many grooves, holes, and indentations that were formed in the wooden planks.
I was fascinated by her vision and her unique technique of capturing the most beautiful shapes in the wood that were left by nature and time.
The most wonderful experience of this encounter was with Judy herself. I enjoyed her vibrant personality, her sweet spirit, and fabulous sense of humor.
I come from a long line of farmers, artists, and educators . . . severely Scottish to a fault. my creative spirit grew from watching my grandfather (engineer and inventor) work with wood felled on the apple farm. the value of manual labor lives deep within me now as I connect to my past with my touch/finger paintings and rubbings of virgin timber, harvested while my grandfather was alive, before w.w. II.
during my 40s, family and self-abuse brought me to my knees. physical, emotional, and spiritual recovery could only be found in learning to live within my truth. my painting came to speak this truth. at first, with a painfully small voice – a whisper in flesh tones and mauves – from the safety of the woods on the family farm. now in my 70s, I live and see with a riot of color, feel with a wicked sense of humor and a balance brought from a sense of gratitude and joy.
Judy has earned a b.a. in art history at Boston University, with postgraduate work at the Pennsylvania Academy of the fine arts. residencies include Vermont studio center, Anderson ranch, and the haystack mountain school of crafts. her work hangs in many important collections including the white house Christmas collection, the Pennsylvania Academy of the fine arts fellowship, and the Newsweek corporation. exhibitions include frank Babb Randolph presents, Washington, d.c., Vero beach museum of art | art club, Vero beach, fl. and the Berman museum of art, pa. among her many private collectors are Robert c. Vose, Alfred j. walker, Winston j. Churchill, Christopher and victoria mc Neil Levine, Peter Beneliol, and Peter McCausland.
I watch Judy – she is seeing more, finding more, and is into a deeper exploration . . . her eyes become clear and uncluttered by narrowing her intention. they have an innocence and openness – an awareness that. . . (comes from) . . . her engagement. | Tim Hawkesworth – painter and teacher
you had struggled so long to find your place, yourself, and to be happy in your skin. and you did it! your work now is beautiful, peaceful, and serene | gale Rawson – retired registrar at the Pennsylvania Academy of the fine arts museum
. . . inspiring. a special woman with a very special gift . . . (others) will appreciate her brilliance. | arlene sjosten – painter.
your gallery and archived paintings are compelling . . . I skipped around and felt that every hit was a winner, either this way or that . . . your freshness in each work seemed wonderful. you look at the world through eyes of beauty. thank you for sharing your grace. | chest breed – retired professor
my need to be part of the land, feel the breeze, and breathe the flora is my soul’s search for peace. I am forever learning to be more present and fully mindful of nature’s timing and energies.
I work in three distinctive manners unique to each place.
To see more of Judy’s Work visit her online at. https://www.judycaldwell.com/about