OCTOBER 2019: JUDITH SKILLMAN
My process of painting the natural world begins with place: specifically, Seattle and environs. When we moved here from the east coast I was able to hike on the Olympic Peninsula, near and at Snoqualmie Pass, and in the San Juan Islands. I’m grateful for those experiences. The sky and water of the Northwest are luminous. It’s a theater of clouds when not overcast, and in the summer the sky can be sapphire or turquoise. Luxuriously long evenings make for exquisite shadows. A painting begins with a connection to light and place. Some are quick studies, others require laborious revision, but ultimately it’s a love affair between the medium—oil paint and cold wax—plus land, water, and the horizon.
“From the Ferry” depicts a view from the ferry that runs between Seattle and Winslow. The sun is setting on a late summer evening, illuminating the Seattle skyline. This northwest corner is my favorite place, despite its increased traffic.
“Vashon Island” was inspired by a photo my daughter took when she was commuting to Vashon Island from West Seattle. A full moon moon is rising, lighting the water and the beach. I like to layer oil paint—this piece was revised more than any other I’ve worked on and, in the end, required that the beach become more ocher than it was in the photograph.
For “Sequim Wild Grasses” I used cold wax to add texture to wild grass in August on the peninsula. This piece was inspired by mid-twentieth century artist Joan Kathleen Harding Eardley.
“Lime Sea after Eardley” is just that: a blatant imitation of one of Eardley’s seascapes. I find her work extremely evocative. Luckily, for the visual artist, it is not a sin to copy, and one can learn a lot.
In “High Tide,” overlapping waves at a beach in Ocean Shores, Washington, swell and break against the shoreline. A palette knife helped define the whitecaps. Payne’s Gray is good for skies which could just as well be water. The horizon blurs out, perhaps indicative of heavy rains that come in fall and winter, accompanied by gale-force winds.
Judith Skillman paints expressionist works in oil on canvas. She is interested in feelings engendered by the natural world. Her art has appeared in journals such as Windmill (The Hofstra Journal of Literature and Art), Artemis, and The Penn Review. Skillman studied at McDaniel College, the Pratt Fine Arts Center, and the Seattle Artist League. Her shows include The Pratt and Galvanize. Visit etsy.com/shop/JkpaintingsStore and judithskillman.com.