Judith DeGraffenried, associate professor of fine arts and program coordinator at MxCC, believes the study of art helps develop creative, innovative thinkers. It involves the use of all facets of the human sensibility – the rational and analytical, the sensory, the emotional, and the spiritual – and therefore is a benefit to every person.
In her own award-winning art – primarily cityscapes, gardenscapes and still lifes – Judith deals with the metaphorical use of space and geometry. She juxtaposes an established sense of space against a geometric pattern, thereby allowing the viewer to gaze into this imaginary construct with his or own interpretations. She employs direct figurative studies to address the inherent design principles found in artistic anatomy as well as the universal energy forms animating these subjects. The spiritual is revealed through the physical.
Judith knows that dealing with life’s many lessons is a crucial component of art. In her studio art classes, her students experience firsthand the benefits of hard work and constant practice through the development of highly visible, concrete works of art. These works are generated from the sketch phase into original compositions based on fundamental elements of design and art historical traditions. Through this dynamic process of creation students learn self-reliance, independence and the necessity of trusting one’s own instincts while coping with ambiguity.
One of the most important things an artist seeks in life is the opportunity for hands-on learning and doing, creating and experimenting. So, in addition to teaching many fine arts courses as, Judith works with her art students outside of the classroom to develop their work, and see their art published and exhibited. She is involved with the campus art publication, “Pegasus,” helps coordinate the student art show, and hosts regular drawing workshops to give artists increased opportunities to create.
For 18 years before joining MxCC, Judith worked as a commercial illustrator, and her art has appeared in advertisements, textbooks, publications, corporate brochures, and other materials. Additionally, she has exhibited her work in more than 50 national juried exhibitions. Awards from these national competitions include:
- Best in Show, Juried Exhibition, “American Landscapes”, Maryland Federation of Art, Inc., Annapolis, MA; September 2008
- Best in Show, Juried Exhibition, “Celebration of the Arts National Juried Exhibition”, The Montpelier Center for Arts & Education, Montpelier, VA; June 2008
- Second Place, Juried Exhibition; “9th Annual National Juried Exhibition”, The Montpelier Center for Arts & Education, Montpelier, VA; April 2006
- Artwork Featured on Catalogue Cover, Juried Exhibition; “28th Annual Works on Paper”, Maryland Federation of Art, Annapolis, MD; April 2005
- Strathmore Award for Excellence, “Rocky Mountain National Watermedia Exhibition”, Golden, CO; July 1995
She earned her bachelor’s degree and master’s of art in teaching degree from the University of South Carolina, and her master’s of fine arts degree in painting from City University of New York. She received a grant that allowed her to attend a year-long painting program at the Art Academy of Munich, one of the oldest and most significant art academies in Germany. She also studied art at Queens College and Indiana University. She is a member of the Watercolor USA Honor Society
Judith uses art to contribute to the community as well. In recent years, her version of the Statue of Liberty (on wheels) has become a popular part of the annual Veteran’s Day Parade in Hartford.
Away from the MxCC art studio, Judith enjoys time with her husband (another artist), son, and two pit pulls. She visits New York City regularly, and likes to hike, bike, and garden as often as possible.
Learn more about the Fine Arts/ Fine Arts and Graphic Design Track program here.