It is often the sense of light in the artwork of professional painter Judy Crane that draws the viewer to her paintings. Whether painting a landscape, cityscape, interior, or still life, Crane captures the magical influence of light on the subject before her. Often this light is fleeting and illusive, other times bold and brilliant. For Crane it is the effects of light and the resulting shadows and colors that inspire her to paint a subject.
Years of Plein air painting have honed her ability to clearly see these effects and to create works that capture the essence of the subject. This emphasis on light and shadow leads the viewer through the painting to the intimate spaces that invite you in and create a feeling of peacefulness. Asked about the sense of peacefulness in her paintings, Crane reflected, “I am happy, content and often joyful when I am painting. These are the feelings I hope to convey in my work. Even when dealing with difficult times in my life, I was inspired to paint the beauty and serenity that I desired in my life, and that focus would relieve the negative, fearful feelings, allowing me to be in that space of peace,” Her works do indeed draw one in and create a feeling of being present in the scene or subject she paints. The joy she feels is evident in the vivid, yet sophisticated colors that are so much a part of her recognizable style. She works with a relatively limited palette creating an array of colors that can be bright and vibrant or muted and greyed, but all related and consistent due to the fact that they are all made from one another.
Crane has worked as a professional artist for more than 30 years. She maintains an open studio in down town Raleigh NC where she does her larger paintings. Her works are held in numerous corporate and private collections including SAS institute, Duke University hospitals, IBM, Cisco Systems, GlaxoSmithKline, Duke Energy, The State of NC , Elon University, The Greater Raleigh Visitors Center, and many others. She been featured in several solo exhibitions as well as participating in numerous invitational and juried exhibitions.
Early in her career, Crane worked in watercolor and studied with a number of watercolor artists including Jean Dobie, Katherine Liu, Carol Barnes, and Judi Betts. She later moved on to Pastels and the freedom of using an opaque medium. During this time she often focused on painting underwater scenes inspired by her own 90 gallon Aquarium. She said she found it fascinating that she could create the best feeling of wetness while using the driest medium of soft pastels. Desiring to work larger and without the constraints of glass and glare she moved on to painting in oils.
Oil remains her medium of choice and she enjoys working in a variety of sizes from 9x12 inches to 4x6 feet.
A workshop with Charles Sovek in the 1990’s triggered her interest in plein air painting. She has since studied with many other Plein air painters including Kevin McPherson, Ned Mueller, John Poone, Rick McClure and Camille Przewodeck. She states that her goal in working on location is to capture the scene, light, and atmosphere as quickly as possible working on small panels usually 11x14 inches. Crane credits learning to be compact with a month long trip to Italy with a group of Artists from the Beverly Street Studio School in Staunton, VA. Becoming comfortable with using public transportation and carrying all supplies and wet paintings in a manageable backpack, along with her love of travel, she has painted in other areas of Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, and the UK as well as the US.
Judy has also studied art by taking classes at NC state University, Meredith College, and from many other nationally renowned artists.
She shares her talents and knowledge by teaching and is a highly sought after workshop instructor. She is generous with her knowledge and even in a workshop environment strives to help each student individually as much as possible. She teaches a "plein air" style that is quick and yet deliberate. The focus is on shape, value, color and design. Her workshops "loosen up" the "tight" painter, placing emphasis on what is really important in a painting rather than the details. She has a teaching DVD available throughout Jerry's Artarama website. She teaches each year at the Art of the Carolinas workshops which bring in students from across the US. and she also teaches workshops throughout NC and other areas of the South.