Photo courtesy of Judith Durr
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Native American painter highlights art show in Carefree
Marc Buckhout ~ Managing Editor ~ 3/24/2010

Cave Creek resident Judith Durr is passionate about both her heritage as well as her art.
The Native American expresses her love of the history of the Choctaw and Cherokee Indians through oil paintings.
“My goal is preserving the legacy of the subjects portrayed in my oil paintings,” she said. “Inspiration and influences of my artwork is due to my proud native heritage. The most wonderful satisfaction is that I don’t have to get a normal day job. This is the finest way to make a living that I could imagine.”
This weekend Durr will be the featured artist at a show in her own backyard, the 9th annual Sonoran Festival of Fine Art.
The free event, which runs from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily, gets under way Friday and runs through Sunday at the Carefree Town Center on Easy Street.
While she said she had a passion for art from an early age it wasn’t until she was 36-years-old that Durr began to look at art as more than just a hobby.
“The passion was always there, probably since I was 7 or 8 years old,” she said. “But it’s funny how life takes you on a journey. I finally got to a crossroads, after I’d raised my family where I had a chance to try something else.”
After starting in pencil Durr quickly decided that oil painting was her medium of choice. Her first teacher was the late Bob Ross, mimicking the work he did on his television show.
“I barely had enough money for the paint, so until I got good at it I wasn’t going to spend money taking lessons,” she said. “But very quickly I saw a lot of improvement, which was exciting.”
Initially Durr spent her time as a landscape painter, before adding what she calls her passion, to her repertoire.
“The process of researching an item is the greatest part,” she said. “I love history. I love the stories. When I buy artifacts to paint I love getting to meet the people and learning their stories.”
Whether it’s pottery, cochinas or beads the Arizona native has made the use of native rugs in the background as her trademark.
“The realism comes from a 12-layer process that I do,” she said. “The layers create the depth. It’s a step-by-step process that gives them texture. When people eagerly reach out to feel the fabric of the rugs, touch the painted beads in the moccasins, bags, the smoothness of the pottery, pick the corn or touch the jewelry from my oil paintings I am provided with a great source of satisfaction.”
This weekend she’ll be performing close to home, at an event hosted by the Sonoran Arts League which features 100 local and nationally-acclaimed artists, a farmer’s market, food booths, entertainment, and exhibits dedicated to wildlife and desert preservation. In addition, Carefree Farmer’s Market will take place in the Carefree Town Center Amphitheatre.
The artists include painters, sculptors, jewelers, wood and glass artists, photographers, and artists working in mixed media. Live entertainment, in-booth artists’ demonstrations and special exhibits are all part of the festivities.
“These artists are phenomenal,” Durr said. “What I like is that every collector gets to come up and take some time talking to the artists. The event brings out high clientele from all over the U.S., Canada and Europe, but also is an event where people can feel comfortable bringing out their children. This is one of the finest places to live, because so many talented people gravitate to the Cave Creek, Carefree area.”
Another feature of the event is “A Brush With Fine Art” in which patrons try their hand at painting. Two tents will be set up with canvases, paints and brushes. Each canvas will have a recognizable image gridded into 4”x6” squares. Adults and children will get the chance to paint a square, while contributing to the overall piece of art.
For information on the 9th annual Sonoran Festival of Fine Art go to www.sonoranartsleague.org or call 480-575-6624. For information on Durr go to www.judydurr.50mpegs.com.