Judith Mackey has been a professional artist for over 40 years. A native Kansan who still resides in the Flint Hills, she paints what she is most familiar with—landscapes of the prairie, working cowboys, and the ranch life that surrounds her rural Chase County home.
Judith was self-taught for the first 30 years of her career, but in a recent effort to further cultivate her talents she has sought out the tutelage of her favorite contemporaries—Wayne Wolfe, Jim Wilcox, Ralph Oberg, Skip Whitcomb, Dan Gerhartz, and Michael Lynch. These associations have made Judith aware of her possibilities in both technique and subject matter that have broadened her vision and enhanced her talents so she feels a renewed vitality and inspiration for her painting.
Over her long career Judith has won many honors. In recent years, she has been in the top 200 in Arts for the Parks competition 3 times—almost every time she entered this prestigious national juried show.
The last two years she was juried into Salon International, an important exhibit for artists of the west. Her paintings have been used as cover illustrations on magazines and books. She was featured in the Spring 1997 issue of Persimmon Hill, the official publication of the Cowboy Hall of Fame. In 2004 she was a featured artist in the New York Times article titled “Sowing Art on the Kansas Prairie and was filmed in her studio for inclusion in an upcoming CBS documentary on the same subject.
In addition to many private and corporate collections, Judith’s work hangs at the Kansas Capitol Building and in the Kansas Governor’s Mansion. A few years ago, four of her oils were on display at the White House as part of the “Save America’s Treasures” Christmas display.
Judith first abstracts her subjects’ mass and form on location. She then finishes the paintings in a more deliberate manner in the studio, adjusting the composition and values, and selecting significant details. Although she may take a reference photo or two, she depends principally on her intimate knowledge of the place she lives and loves. Those who know the Flint Hills well usually love Judith’s work best. For others, it opens their eyes to the beauty often overlooked on a trip down I-70.
While pursuing her artistic ambitions Judith also found time to raise 3 children, manage a household, and work with husband, Ken, in their various enterprises promoting the small town of Cottonwood Falls. She now enjoys the company of her grandchildren.