Judy Ross—All I Ever Wanted to Do Was Art

Emilie Ortega, President, Quail Creek Fine Arts Painting Club

What were you doing when you were 4 or 5 years old? Can you even remember back that far? I know that I can’t, but Judy Ross, one of our exceptional instructors for the Quail Fine Arts Painting Club (QCFAPC), remembers exactly what she wanted and what she was doing. She wanted to draw and paint.

At the age of 6, Judy’s parents enrolled her in a professional art class where she could increase her natural skills.

Fun Fact No. 1: At the tender age of 16, Judy was dared to hang glide off of a cliff in the Mount Hood ski area, with her skis on, and land on the ski run below. She did—and lived to talk about it. I asked her if she was scared. She said, “Terrified, and I never told my parents, because they would have killed me.”

Fast forward to when Judy was around 30. Judy’s art had improved dramatically through classes, education, and drawing and painting a great deal. She entered her first art show in Kitimat, B.C. (yes, Judy is Canadian and lived there into her adult years). She sold every painting she submitted, and it was the first time she realized she was a “real artist.” Her friends had been telling her that for years, but now she believed it herself.

Judy’s favorite medium is watercolor, but she does work in other mediums, too, such as pen and ink, pastels, charcoal, mixed media, weavings, and papermaking, to name a few. Watercolor became her first love when she took a class from a famous artist by the name of Zolton Szabo. Zolton changed the way Judy looked at watercolor, and through his classes, she became aware and very interested in the transparency of the medium. To this day, Judy’s work draws from his teachings and shows up in her many-layered and transparent pieces.

Fun Fact No. 2: Judy became a miniature watercolor artist while cruising many years on their 43-foot sailboat exploring the Pacific Coast and Caribbean with her husband. She submitted one to a show that only took her 10 minutes to paint, and she won first place in the Coachella Valley Watercolor Society Show in 2019. Judy still continues to paint in the miniature style.

Judy has taught here in Quail Creek since 2020 but has been involved in teaching a number of mediums since 1978.

I asked her if she had advice for us. Judy replied, “There are no mistakes in watercolor, only happy surprises and opportunities to learn. If you learn one thing from an instructor, it’s been worthwhile, so take all the classes you can to improve your skills … keep learning, keep evolving, and paint.”

Judy will be back with us this fall to teach beginning and intermediate watercolor, pen and ink, drawing, and some fun techniques we all need to expand our skills. In addition, Judy offers private painting lessons in her home studio. To get more information, email her at [email protected].

There is much, much more to the background and work of Judy Ross. For the full story, go to the QCFAPC website and check her out for yourself.

Fun Fact No. 3: For the last three years, Judy has been one of the featured artists here in Quail Creek in the March Tubac Open Studio Tour where you can go into her studio and see and purchase her work. I expect she will be doing it again in 2024.

This is your invitation to come see what the Quail Creek Fine Arts Painting Club is all about and join in on the wonderful fun and experiences our club provides. And if you see Judy around the community, say hello and ask her, “What’s next?” in her art journey. She will be very happy to tell you.

Until next time, happy painting!