September Artist of the Month: Jude Cowell

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

One of my very favorite artists, whom I have known for several years, is so very talented, in a variety of genres. She's a dreamy artist, who creates amazingly detailed art that calls to you - in rich layered colors, sometimes underwater, and all of it so very, very beautiful.


Our September Artist of the Month is Jude Cowell, who truly visions extraordinary art. Several years ago, when I purchased a gorgeous fish drawing, she sent it with a fantastic 'scrap' of paper for her note. The scrap was frameable, and reminded me of an antique Indian painting that my parents have hanging in the parlour! I was lucky enough to sit down and talk with Jude about her art - here's what she had to say...


Jude Cowell

Fairy at work



WE:  Please tell us about your Art..
First I want to thank you, Jessie, for inviting me to participate here on Wandering Educators!  These days I've gone exlusively back to my first love, drawing. Black paper is my favorite for its spiritual quality for I like bringing images 'out of the shadows' rather than layering onto white paper where I never feel I'm getting the depth as with black.


Jude Cowell

Three-spotted rabbitfish

My favorite colored pencil brand was discontinued a few years ago although I still have a few around by Spectracolor. But basically Prismacolor oil and Rexell Derwent watercolour (dry) are what I use most and they're great.

WE: How or when did you start being an artist/doing art?

JC: I'm one of those 'since I could hold a pencil' types. My parents had a constant struggle to keep prolific me supplied with paper and, of course, walls were under constant threat!


Jude Cowell

Neptune's daughter and friend

WE:  Where do you draw inspiration from?

JC: Visionary Art is a faculty which one may have naturally but years of practice makes it easy to call on at will, I find. To be able to shut out the rest of the world is a happy gift.

Yet never being anything but an artist, I have no idea what I'd be doing instead! (Well, I do blog using Astrology, mainly on political subjects, which, like artwork, is done for the collective's sake; my early interest in Astrology came at age 12; but drawing came first, age 2 1/2.)

Environmental inspirations began with an early love of the outdoors growing up in rural Georgia on a road with a lovely creek. Our drinking water came from an artesian well, and I was always hiding from my mother's call to supper from the topmost branches of trees (guess that makes me an early tree-hugger) not wanting to miss the cloud show at sunset.


Jude Cowell

Minerva's glen


Both my parents were gardeners so drawing plants, flowers, trees, and animals just seemed natural. And faces of those around me were a constant drawing focus as well.

Being color sensitive, I loved any and all garden visits to relatives' houses, botanical gardens, parks, plus, we always took mountain vacations. My female relatives, including my mom, were quilters, embroiderers, seamstresses, knitters, weavers, and tatters when tatting was cool (that's lace-making for the young person reading this!).

My mom taught me to sew as a kid so Barbie Doll clothes became my specialty.

Nowadays I use different themes in my drawings such as:

Children's, Fairy, Moon and Cosmic Art, along with botanical tropical fish portraits which are added to imaginary undersea backgrounds - sort of the viewer seeing them ensnared within their favorite dreams...Dreamyfish Art.


Jude Cowell

Night in celadon forest


Mixing real with Illusionary Art seems to be the most satisfying for me and even some of my saucier figure studies from Cosmic Persona Designs or Boudoir Blossoms, have this blending of real-with-visionary.

And example would be 'Basonge Dance Mask of Wifwebe' where I attempt to render a realistic image of a Basonge mask along with an imaginary lady looking at it with a certain expression on her mask-like face.


Jude Cowell

Basonge dance mask of K'ifwebe


My college training consisted of Fashion Illustration, Lay-out, and Design at what was then Atlanta School of Art - now College of Art - so I think you can see fashion influences in my figure studies of archetypal feminine symbols along with a delight in artists' work such as that of Degas, Manet, Renoir, Pisarro, Beardsley, Morisot, and most especially of Cezanne - all have inspired many artists through years and this artist is among the throng.


Jude Cowell

Borrowed glove dispute


Their dancers, backstage theater ladies, and outdoor dapplings I find fascinating along with their riveting facial expressions.


Jude Cowell

Photographing ballerinas


Actually masks do turn up in my Cosmic Persona Designs collection fairly frequently - which relates to Greek astro-drama that in turn meshes well with Astrology - as we 'speak through the mask' of our ascending signs.


Jude Cowell


WE:  Your work is so dreamy. How do you create Art that is so fantastical?
Guess I answered this above, except to say that my Astrology studies the last several years tend to spark planetary subjects and I love to view Hubble and other space photos which show the Real Scenes - my images are only dim shadows of Creation!


Jude Cowell

Anima Snakerton


And I suspect that the fantastical element comes at least in part from raising children who shared my love of illustrations from children's books, for reading bedtime stories was one of my favorite things to do with my kids. If you've ever made a 'ballerina' out of a Maypop blossom, then you've pretty well experienced my childhood!


Jude Cowell

Mermaids gathering


An 'imaginative child' they said. Well, there's the 'dreamy' part you mentioned, Jessie.

Besides drawing, the only other project I'm creating now - by my daughter's request - is a Felt Activity Book for my almost-3-year-old granddaughter similar to the one I made for my kids when they were small. It's a barrel of monkeys to be making one again. I had actually sold a few in the late 90s when Fabric Art was on my art menu, but the cosmic-themed felt wallhangings sold best of all.

And happily, my dummybook for 'Pattillo Armadillo and the Dream of Green' was invited for review at a NYC publisher in mid-2004 and was greatly complimented, but Pattillo wasn't 'right for their list' as they say. His moral was too new age and not overt enough to fit in! Of course, now 'green' is the coming thing so I really should self-publish the little fellow - I think 'he'd' like that!

Jude Cowell

Patillo Armadillo



WE:  Is there anything else you'd like to say about your art?

JC: Well, I could list some of the other forms and media I've enjoyed perpetrating through the years but since drawing has 'taken over' my drafting table once again, I'll hush for now and let my drawings speak for my Art!

Jude Cowell

Brown-spotted wrasse



WE: Thanks so much, Jude! I have really enjoyed learning more about your art, the process and thought behind it. Magnificent!

Jude Cowell

Peony fairies


Jude's art blogs:


Comments (2)

  • monacake

    15 years 3 months ago

    thank you so much, jessie, for this interview with jude. her artwork has long been a favorite of mine, and this glimpse into her history and process is enlightening and a joy.

    upon first look, i often feel as though i have seen her paintings/drawings before, like she pulled them from our common imagination. they are beautiful, magical, and embody a depth of feeling that so few others have.

    bravo to you both!

  • AW Sprague II

    15 years 3 months ago

    I loved this interview and the artwork. As an artist, I've never worked on black paper, but this work inspires me to try.

    I absolutely love the shading, detail and themes of Judes' pieces. It's fantastic. Thanks for sharing all this with us.

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