Judy Howard had no idea she would have a piece of her artwork in an international online exhibit when she was a freshman student walking the campus of the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith back in the 1960s. But she does.


Howard, who attended UAFS in 1967-68 when it was a two-year community college called Westark, has her painting titled “Tracks and Shadows” in the International Association of Pastel Societies 23rd Juried Exhibition web show.


Having her watercolors and pastels on exhibit is nothing new for Howard, but this is her first international exhibit.


“They had thousands of entries for the prestigious show, so I am very honored to have a painting accepted and displayed with so many wonderful paintings by such excellent artists,” she said.


Howard said many of the artists with work in the online show are members of pastel societies on the east and west coast, as well as in numerous other states and countries, including Canada, Australia and New Zealand.


“Some of these artists teach workshops across the United States and all over the world, have published books and instructional DVDs and have won numerous awards in big art shows,” she said. “Many of their paintings sell for thousands of dollars.”


Howard, who went on to graduate from Arkansas Tech in 1971 with a Bachelor of Arts in Art Education and taught for three years at Van Buren Junior High, came back to UAFS to teach drawing and painting classes for 13 years for the continuing education program. She then worked as a graphic artist for UAFS for eight years before joining the staff of the Division of Agriculture at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in 1998, a position she still holds.


At UAF, she is a graphic designer and project manager who designs publications -- annual reports, magazines, brochures, programs and displays -- for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture and Bumpers College. Her talent there has not gone unnoticed either, with her work earning her 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.


Her spare time is spent creating pieces of art, often reflective of the area where she lives in Fayetteville or in the Fort Smith region, where she grew up and still has family living.


Howard’s work while at UAFS included a watercolor of the prominent bell tower at the center of campus, a depiction that was printed and framed in addition to being used in countless publications and on stationery and clothing. Some of the framed pieces still hang in offices on the UAFS campus.


Her other works showcase private homes and businesses in Fort Smith, Little Rock, Jonesboro, Memphis and Germantown, Tenn., as well as numerous Arkansas barns.


Since moving to Fayetteville, Howard’s work has included watercolors of the Agriculture Building and the Home Economics Building on the University of Arkansas campus and pastels of various rural scenes in the Northwest Arkansas area. She is an active member of the Ozark Pastel Society and the Artists of Northwest Arkansas and is former newsletter editor for both organizations.


Howard said she worked in watercolors for years before taking up 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’s work has been included in other 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. She will also have about 16-20 pastels paintings in an upcoming solo show March 23-April 25 at the Bentonville Convention and Visitors Center on the Bentonville Square.


Howard said she loved her time as a Westark freshman.


“I started as an elementary education major, but I realized how much I missed art while taking art classes from Pete Howard, who is no relation, so I changed my major to art education when I went to Arkansas Tech. I also met my husband, Mose, when we were both students at Westark, and many years later, both of our sons -- Ryan of Jersey City, N.J., and Brent of New York City -- attended Westark as freshmen as well.”


She said her time working on the Westark campus was a “very rewarding experience and a great training ground.”


“I learned so much about publication design, computers and desktop publishing, printing processes, project organization and file management, and I had the total support of the staff and faculty, which was the key to my success,” she said. “I really hated to leave, but that work experience helped me transfer smoothly into my current job. I will always be grateful to those at Westark who gave me a chance to learn and start a new career.”


Howard believes it is important to encourage young artists and offers some words of wisdom for them.


“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.”

Story ID: 
Date Posted: 
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
News Teaser: 
Judy Howard had no idea she would have a piece of her artwork in an international online exhibit when she was a freshman student walking the campus of the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith back in the 1960s. But she does.