Graphic Design, Watercolor or Pastels, Judy Howard's Art Work Earns Recognition

Painting part of international online pastels exhibit

Friday, February 14, 2014
“Tracks and Shadows”, pastel by Judy Howard.

“Tracks and Shadows”, pastel by Judy Howard.

(This article was adapted from one written by Sondra LaMar, director of public relations for the University of Arkansas, Fort Smith that was published on the UAFS website.)

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Judy Howard has been an artist for most of her life, working successfully in a variety of mediums, traditional and modern. She is an award-winning graphic designer in the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. Her watercolors have been exhibited often, and one in particular is something of an unofficial trademark

She will exhibit about 20 pastel paintings in a solo show March 25-April 29 at the Bentonville Convention and Visitors Center; and now one of her pastel paintings, “Tracks and Shadows,” is getting international attention as part of the International Association of Pastel Societies 23rd Juried Exhibition web show.

This is her first time as part of an international exhibit.

“They had thousands of entries, so I am very honored to have a painting accepted and displayed with so many wonderful paintings by such excellent artists,” Howard said. “These are members of pastel societies from across the country and around the world – including Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Some of these artists teach workshops, have published books and instructional DVDs and have won numerous awards in big art shows. Many of their paintings sell for thousands of dollars.”

Howard grew up in Fort Smith and attended Westark College – now the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith – in 1967-68.

“I started as an elementary education major, but I realized how much I missed art while taking art classes there, so I changed my major to art education when I went to Arkansas Tech,” she said.

She graduated in 1971 with a Bachelor of Arts in art education and then taught at Van Buren Junior High and later in continuing education classes at Westark before starting to work for the college as a graphic artist. During her time at Westark she painted a watercolor of the prominent bell tower at the center of campus. Framed prints of the painting still hang in offices on the UAFS campus; the image has also been used in countless publications and on stationery and clothing.

Howard started her current position as a graphic designer at the U of A in 1998. She designs publications – annual reports, magazines, brochures, programs and displays – for the Division of Agriculture and the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences. Her work has earned awards from the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences, as well as the National Agricultural Alumni and Development Association.

Agriculture building
Home Economics building

She has also produced two watercolors specifically for Bumpers College and the Division of Agriculture. She painted both the Agriculture and the Home Economics buildings on campus, and prints have been made of both paintings, to be given as gifts to special guests and also sold to benefit academic programs.

Howard spends her spare time making art. She began working in pastels about 10 years ago.

“I like working in pastels because the colors are rich and exciting and the textures are inviting,” she said. “Watercolor and pastels are opposites in many ways – transparent versus opaque, wet paint versus dry pigment – and I love them both.”

She said her current work in pastels is “a little looser” than her watercolor paintings.

“And I’ve also tried some abstract paintings in pastels,” she added.

Howard is an active member of the Ozark Pastel Society and the Artists of Northwest Arkansas and is former newsletter editor for both organizations.

Her work has been included in recent exhibits and competition shows of the Ozark Pastel Society and the Artists of Northwest Arkansas as well as her own show last April at the Arts Center of the Ozarks in Springdale.

Howard believes it is important to encourage young artists.

“My best advice to young artists is to keep drawing, painting and creating in any medium that speaks to you,” she said, telling students to take more classes and show their work at every opportunity that comes along. She also believes it's important to visit museums and art shows and read about artists for inspiration.

“Never give up or quit making art of some kind,” she said. “Even if your job has nothing to do with art, find time to create something – paintings, pottery, music, stories, whatever interests you. Art will feed your spirit and your soul all your life, if you let it.”


Steve Voorhies, manager of media relations
University Relations

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