Should you feel that a degree in Astrophysics would impede the development of a very artistic journey, you should meet Judith Probst. She received her BS in Astrophysics from Indiana University and worked in Astronomy Departments at Indiana U. and later at the U. of Virginia. However, her constant doodling in the margins of her notebooks (mostly small portraits of her classmates) caused her to rethink. Post Graduate studies in Studio Art (with Richard Crozier at U. of Virginia) led her from science to art. She earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in painting at San Jose State University in California, and dove with delight into the world of Watercolors, Acrylics and teaching.
She tried other media. Finding that she was allergic to oil thinner and bothered by the dust of pastels, she has found joy in the brilliant colors of Watercolor and the versatility of Acrylic paint to spread like oils or to flow like water. These media work well for painting her favorite subjects—landscapes, horses, and portraits. Color speaks to her senses with a tug toward the cool blue spectrum countered with peaches, pinks and red-browns. She is a big fan of earth tones.
Judith’s love of horses began in early childhood on a small farm in southeastern Indiana near the Ohio River. She adored Toby and Bess, her Dad’s team of big black Percheron horses. As a toddler, her father found her trying to climb Bess’s foreleg the minute he was distracted. At age three, she created her first mural of horses on a newly painted wall. She acquired her very own filly at the age of 10. One major way art affected her as a child is in her love of the beautiful drawings and paintings in children’s books.
Moving to Tucson in 1983 when her astronomer husband was hired to work at Kitt Peak National Observatory, Judith was inspired by the vast western landscape as well as the wildlife within it. Plein Air painting (painting outside and on site) is something Judith wishes she had more time for. A dream project in her future would be to enjoy a Plein Aire tour of the West.
A break from her Tucson life occurred between mid-1995 and 2000 when Judith and Ron lived in Chile at the headquarters of the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, a sister observatory to Kitt Peak N.O. Living in the cultural center of La Serena, Judith’s art background and obvious talent brought invitations to teach painting to Chileans and ex-patriots in the astronomy, mining and artistic community.
She was invited to exhibit her work in a major group show at the University of La Serena, was juried into the 4th Region Biennial exhibition, and had a two-person show (with Juanita Munoz) at the Department of Culture of the City of Coquimbo. While living in Chile, she travelled through much of the length of Chile to experience (and paint) some spectacular scenery.
Judith loves to escape into her work. She continues to paint because “art is a lifetime job: you don’t need to retire.” For Judith, an artistic outlook on life is the art of really seeing something that you want to meditate on, interpret and present to others. When asked if there were items she felt she absolutely could not live without, Judith answered firmly, “PAPER AND PENCIL!”—spoken like a true artist. You are invited to enjoy her beautiful paintings at:
Desert Artisans’ Galery
6536 E. Tanque Verde Rd.