Few individuals are blessed to do what they love to earn a living. The phrase, ‘do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life’ is easier said than done. Regardless, that is what Judith Fowler has accomplished to the extent that she and her husband Jon currently have an exhibit on view at the Spiva Center for the Arts in Joplin, A Retrospective. The gallery is a collection of their work throughout their careers as artists.
The exhibit includes many bronze pieces that Jon has created and beyond life-sized works by Judith that could make you rethink how paintings appear. Recently, KRPS’s Fred Fletcher-Fierro spoke with Judith Fowler at her home studio in Joplin. He first asked what drew her to working with pastels?
“I find that they are really bright. Highly saturated colors just don’t appeal to me as much. And when they are kind of wispy like this, I can blend them more. But for a long time, I taught pastel drawing, and so I think that’s why there is a lot of pastel look to them.”
Whether we know it or not, each of us has a fondness for art. Within a few seconds, we have judged whether we like a particular style. Judith’s works blur the lines of different styles and colors. One aspect you won’t find in her work is lines. In a world that is defined by them, they are absent in Judith’s pieces. Another interesting aspect about her work to consider when you visit her gallery at the Spiva Center for the art is that she just doesn’t work on one piece at a time but up to five.
“So all the ones that you see at the studio here, I’m working on them at the same time. Now, these are all acrylic, even oil ones; I’ll have two or three going. And so that’s probably why I use the same pallet.”
According to Judith, having her mind focused on multiple pieces simultaneously comes naturally.
“It’s almost the way I have to work because this way I can’t get too over-involved with one, or I might ruin it. When you’re painting you’re going through different mindsets.”
Judith explains that to be an artist, you must tap into your personality and let that run through the colors and subjects you paint.
“So you might be kind of playful when you start. When you’re drinking your coffee, and you’re starting work, and then you get a little more serious, and you get tired of the image, at least I do. And if you start working on another one, I’m fresh when I come back to the other.”
Working on multiple pieces at once isn’t about creating pieces to sell and make a living. For Judith, the colors and elements are how she expresses herself. Whether it was from raising her children to her mother’s death or traveling to Italy in the early 1990’s it can all be found in A Retrospective.
She admits that it is a bit revealing to have her life on canvas and strangers staring, trying to understand it. But when you love what you do and live for it, telling and sharing your story through art is also a form of self-therapy, another peg of Judith’s career.
“Art therapy is usually handled by trained people. There’s a diagnosis, and you plan your treatment. But they may use therapeutic art in the process. As an art therapist, I’ve seen the power of art therapy and therapeutic art to where people can be so subconsciously tormented, or they don’t even know they have these feelings.”
Judith and Jon Fowler’s gallery, A Retrospective, is open to the public at the Spiva Center for the Arts in Joplin now through Saturday, July 16, 2022.
These days it seems like the news cycle never ends. Whether it’s cable news, news through social media, or a podcast, it can feel like we’re blocked in from all sides. The news oftentimes is confusing for adults, and it can be even more so for children, especially when it concerns the tragedy at Robb Elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. Recently, KRPS’s Fred Fletcher-Fierro spoke with Freeman Health System pediatrician Dr. Amanda Dickerson about how to talk to your children about current events.
“Check in with yourself, and sort of see how you’re feeling, and reconcile some of the feelings that you’re having before you, then approach your children.”
Dr. Dickerson encourages parents and other adults to make sure that they are not sitting in their own emotions before their children ask them difficult questions. She says that visit healthychildren.org provides numerous free resources on how to speak with kids. Dr. Dickerson also said that
“Number one, and I think this is the most important thing, is that you kind of have to know where your kids are in their developmental stage. You wouldn’t approach a child 5 or 6 in the same way that you would when they’re 11 or 12.”
Dickerson says that healthychildren.org provides information on how to speak with children from prenatal to young adults on topics such as getting outside, long-haul COVID, and guns at home. She encourages parents and caregivers to meet kids where they are.
“And so you want to present the information in a way that kids can understand at the level that they are at. And so what I would recommend is to first ask your child, what have you heard? What have you heard about what’s going on? Because whatever they’ve heard from their friends may or may not be true.”
Dr. Dickerson says to prepare yourself for kids not wanting to speak about the details of the news but what scares them about what happened.
A Democrat hasn’t represented Missouri’s 7th Congressional District for over 60-years. In 2020, Billy Long defeated Democrat Teresa Montseny by over 40%. There are three Democratic primary contenders this time around, two of which are former Republicans, including Stratford, Missouri’s Bryce Lockwood. Lockwood is a self-described ‘longtime Republican.’ He says his choice to run for Congress and as a Democrat was due to one phone call.
“On the last day of filing, on March 29, I received a phone call from a long-time friend of mine who is running as a Republican for the Senate in Missouri 7th Congressional District. Before we got very far into the conversation, I thought, my goodness, this gentleman is absolutely ignorant of what’s going on with the contest and the issues that need to be resolved.”
According to Lockwood, there are several issues that he is concerned about as he spoke about the planks of his campaign.
“Probably number one, voting rights. In 2013, Shelby County v. Holder was a determination by the US Supreme Court which literally gutted the voting rights act. That allowed a lot of gerrymandering and violations of what I considered to be voting rights. The next issue would be that of Medicaid.”
According to Lockwood, Missouri Governor Mike Parson and the Republican-led Missouri legislature have ignored the will of the voters when they didn’t fully fund Medicaid and the slow rollout of the low-income government-run health services program.
Lockwood says that while voting rights and access to Medicaid are his top two agenda ideas, he also has strong feelings on three other topics.
“There’s also the issue of women’s rights, equal rights, and term limits. It’s not been terribly long ago when the Republican senior senator from the state of Missouri, Roy Blunt, in 1992, when he was talking about taking his run as Congressman in Missouri’s 7th District. The Congressman at that time was Mel Hancock, and Mel Hancock ran on a plank of term limits.”
Lockwood says that he is in favor of term limits because he’s tired of people getting into office saying they will serve two or three terms and staying longer.
“He (Hancock) said that he would only serve two or three terms as United States Congressman, and then he would step out and let someone else assume that position. Roy Blunt was voted in on that platform of term limits, and excuse me, but nearly 30 years later, Roy Blunt is still around. I’m 82 years old, and there’s no way that I can be around as long as Roy Blunt’s been in public office.”
Lockwood has a long memory of Missouri politicians and their promises and is running as a Democrat to help turn the page on the Republicans’s over 60-year-long dominance in Missouri’s 7th District.
Primary day is Tuesday, August 2, 2022.
You must register to vote by July 6 to be eligible to vote in primary elections.