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  B I O G R A P H Y
Judy Ferrara
 J U D Y  F E R R A R A
Artist Statement

In January 1998, I returned to painting for the first time in nearly 40 years. However, art was my passion during those four decades. I read about art and artists voraciously and frequented every museum and gallery in any location in which I found myself. My husband and I have been collecting art since the mid-1980s.

I have worked hard since my return to painting, usually completing an average of one piece each week while in and out of various painting classes. Courses at the Worcester Art Museum, in the South of France and at Castle Hill, Truro Center for the Arts on Cape Cod have provided me with subject and inspiration. My painting teachers have given me both open-ended instruction and encouragement. In 2000, I received the Jacob Knight Emerging Artist award.

I have come to understand that the process of painting is mysterious. When I begin to paint, it takes about several hours of intense work before I know if I have a painting. Then the painting takes over. I listen to it. I know and don't know what I am doing at the same time. I work in a state of curiosity and wonder where the painting will take me. I give myself to it and trust the process, the mystery. I have no fear.

While I find some subjects in the real world of interiors, landscapes, cityscapes, still lifes or portraits, it is not until I start to paint that I know if my subject, imagination and skills will merge and inspire me enough to produce a picture in which some meaning becomes clear. I am always asking: "But what is this painting about?" Meaning is finally conveyed to me in the language of emotions: joy, fear, serenity, or discomfort. So the root of my passion for painting is its dependence on emotion and whatever emotion dominates the subject. The search for meaning is the same if I look at someone else's art or my own.

I am also a poet and notice similarities between the process of painting and writing poetry. If one were to examine poems from my first collection, Gestures of Trees (Mellen Poetry Press, 2000), it would be difficult not to notice the many references to art. Indeed, some paintings have grown from my poems and poems have come from my paintings; I am currently working on a manuscript that features pairs of paintings and poems that have inspired each other, Reciprocity: New and Selected Poems and Paintings. I have received a 2003 Worcester Cultural Commission-Massachusetts Cultural Council creative arts fellowship in support of this project.

My paintings represent a variety of subjects and techniques. Strong expressive colors, stylized shapes and patterns dominate my work. Acrylics, oils, oil sticks, oil pastels, pastels and pencils help me to experiment and to achieve effects that I want. As each painting emerges, I recognize my influences: Rouault, Redon, Chagall, Picasso, Matisse, Monet, Degas, Hockney, van Gogh and the painters who influenced them. For example, I painted an homage to van Gogh, which is based on his homage to Millet' s "La Nuit Etoilée." Poet John Ashbery said, "Rather than be pure, accept yourself as numerous." He was talking about his style of mixing various language and tones of voice in his poems. I believe that he is also instructing me in my journey as a painter and poet.

View Judy's work here


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