Painting her way through life

Show of paintings by Judith Sanders-Wood opens in Camas

What: "A little bit of this, a little bit of that" -- a showcase of some of the art work of Judith Sanders-Wood

When: Throughout August

Where: The Second Story Gallery at the Camas Public Library, 625 N.E. Fourth Ave.

Hours: Monday through Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Contact: 834-4692

What: “A little bit of this, a little bit of that” — a showcase of some of the art work of Judith Sanders-Wood

When: Throughout August

Where: The Second Story Gallery at the Camas Public Library, 625 N.E. Fourth Ave.

Hours: Monday through Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Contact: 834-4692

Judith Sanders-Wood used to get in trouble with her teacher in grade school for drawing outlines of naked people in the margins of her school papers.

She didn’t understand why her teacher was so upset; her artistic mother had taught her to draw the human form when she was a young child as a basis for paintings and drawings.

Ever since then, Sanders-Wood has been creating art. She focused on black and white drawings when she was younger, but now gravitates toward painting with colorful acrylics.

Her work is on display this month in a show titled “A little bit of this, a little bit of that,” at the Second Story Gallery in the Camas Public Library.

With images ranging from outdoor cafes to animal wildlife to waterfalls, Sanders-Wood, who paints under the name J.K. Sanders, loves to experiment with new painting methods.

“Even as a kid, I never colored inside the lines,” she said. “I like to venture out and try new techniques.”

She learns these new techniques in a variety of classes, art groups and even the Internet.

“One of my best friends is YouTube,” Sanders-Wood said.

She also invents her own techniques. As a frequent ice-tea drinker, Sanders-Wood found herself with an abundance of leftover tea bags. Instead of throwing them away, she dyed and stamped some, and now incorporates them into several of her paintings.

“I’m enjoying the process,” she said. “If something comes out that is cool, that’s icing on the cake.”

Not only does she enjoy trying different methods, Sanders-Wood also loves drawing inspiration from a variety of different sources.

She often takes pictures of nature and wildlife, paints different places she visits, and once was inspired by a classic car show.

The way the light played on the windows and the reflection of the car at sunset piqued her interest.

“It was more the feeling of the car,” Sanders-Wood said.

But inspiration doesn’t always strike immediately. Sometimes she will make the base for a painting and consider it for weeks and months before creating a painting. Eventually, an idea will come.

“Sometimes I let the painting do itself,” Sanders-Wood said.

The artist enjoys the process and usually loves the finished project too. But she admits that not all of her paintings are great.

“I have a lot of losers,” she said.

She is on the board of Southwest Washington Watercolor Society, is part of a small informal art group, and regularly takes classes at local schools and studios.

That’s what you have to do to be an artist, according to Sanders-Wood. She has some important advice for aspiring artists.

“Do it for yourself,” Sanders-Wood said. “People feel that and they’ll enjoy it too. Never give up.”

Painting has helped her get through some hard times in life and she has learned that art can be a helpful tool.

“Never stop creating,” she said. “It can be therapeutic, and it can sometimes be the only thing you have.”

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