Judith Joseph

My artistic style originates with illuminated manuscripts, which have been my first love for many years.  I have created hundreds of Ketubahs (hand-painted, hand-lettered Jewish marriage contracts.)  A sense of narrative and multiple visual meanings carries over from my scribal works into my paintings.  Combining text with detailed, exquisitely rendered miniature border designs, patterns and illustrations has given rise to my painting style.  My paintings are often laid out like an illustrated page of a book, with a central image surrounded by a narrative border.  Over time, the borders have invaded the “main” image, and pattern and narrative become intertwined and inextricable.

Many elements of text inform my work:  the visual rhythm and presence of letters, calligraphic brushwork, the tendency to include border design, and often the scale of a book you can hold in your hands. The discipline of calligraphy has trained my hand as I make marks.  My brushwork is based on the Japanese painting tradition of Sumi-E, which was born of calligraphy.

Like Sumi-E, my art is firmly rooted in nature.  Sensuality enters my work with the ever-present forest; both the tree of life and the sensation of autumn leaves crunching under hiking boots.  Painting the delicate veins on a leaf or the translucent frost on a berry helps me see the world more fully and brings me a sense of wonder and joy.

I teach painting and calligraphy at the Chicago Botanic Garden, and advanced painting instruction at the Art Center, Highland Park.

Website:  www.judithjosephstudio.com

Blog:  Technical Support For A Creative Life