Despite what life might have been telling her, Judy Edwards felt destined to become an artist. In between attending college, getting married, having two daughters, raising her children and managing a home she became a student of the arts, studying at the Honolulu Art Academy, Rhode Island School of Design, Newport Art Museum, on Monhegan Island, Maine, and at the Ringling College in Sarasota.
But it was a vision while driving home from a vacation that changed Judy’s life and gave her a clear, new focus. She was inspired to take a painting trip around the world for a year with her 13-year-old daughter. Among their destinations were Chile, Bali, Thailand, Greece, and Egypt while Judy painted with oils at each stop. What began as a painting trip eventually led her to write a book about the experience titled “Journeys,” but the publication of the book was put on hold after the 9/11 tragedy.
“During my travels we did go to Egypt and in the Museum of Antiquities in Cairo and I saw first hand examples of encaustic paintings on the faces of the mummies,” Judy says. “The color was brilliant and they were dated from 30-40 AD. Once ‘Journeys’ got put on hold, I was ready for a change and I found a class at Ringling.”
While taking that class Judy was introduced to the world of encaustics through her instructor, Leslie Neumann.
Encaustic paints are simply beeswax, resin and pigment. Layers are fused together with hot air guns or torches. They can be molded, sculpted, textured, and combined with collage materials.
“I was fortunate to be in the right place at the right time at Ringling when Leslie invited me to the First International Encaustic Conference.”
Putting the book on hold, Judy began working again on her art, this time focusing on encaustics instead of oils. After the release of Elizabeth Gilbert’s book and movie, “Eat, Pray, Love” she was inspired once again to try and publish “Journeys,” self publishing, using Amazon.com.
“With all the changes going on in the world, I see the necessity for each of us to face our fears and release who we are not and discover who we are meant to be,” she says. A quote that’s become like a personal mantra- it’s also used on the back cover of the book as well.
Judy is an artist with the Fifth Avenue Gallery and is involved in the revitalization of the Eau Gallie district. Travel now, is mostly within the United States, visiting family and friends.
“I love traveling, but would I take a big trip like that again? Probably not, but you never know,” she says.