Donley’s love for art is always growing

Published 10:13 am Wednesday, July 12, 2017

For an artist, inspiration can come in any form.

And for local artist Judy Donley, her inspiration usually develops from where she is at.  Donley, who served five years in the Airforce, has traveled to many places around the world such as Scottland, Guam, China, and Egypt, but of all the places she has been, it is the place she has called home for the last 23 years that she loves the most.

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“I am inspired by where I am at, but, I really love where I am at now, “ said Donley about the Elizabethton and Carter County area. “This place is a hidden gem. Most people don’t appreciate where they grew up, but this a really beautiful place to live.”

Donley has loved art ever since she was a little girl, and over the years, her love of learning has had her training in many different styles.

“Well, I get inspired by different types of art,” she said. “I started with oil paintings when I was a child. Then I went into printmaking. Recently I have been doing the watercolors and the pastels. I also like working with textiles and silk scarfs. If I see a style that I like, I either attend a workshop or find some way that I can do it. I love to create. I am constantly learning things and new techniques. “

But if she had to a favorite style it would be impressionism due to its ability to allow an artist to communicate to the viewer what they saw in a scene or a subject. One of Donley’s impressionistic pieces is an oil painting titled “Castle” which she created while living in Scottland. The painting depicts an old castle sitting on a shoreline with fog creeping into the frame. In the foreground, the water reflects the image of the castle.

“I like things were you can tell what it is, but it is not in great detail,” she said about why she enjoys impression artwork. “It gives you a lot of leeway. It doesn’t look like a photo. I just want people to have an impression of what I saw.”

Donley said that the local area has a great art scene and that she wishes to see more development of a scene in Elizabethton and Carter County. She also credited Blue River Studio in Elizabethton for helping people develop an appreciation of the arts.

“I have been with the Watauga Valley Art League for 20 years,” she said. “It goes in cycles. Right now, we have a wonderful collection of people. It really makes me happy to be a part of that organization.”

“I see a resurgence of art,” she continued. “I would like to see more in Elizabethton. People don’t always value art. They like it, but they don’t see art as aesthetic, beautiful, and worthy of support. I do. And I want to support this gallery (Blue River Studio), because it is a valuable asset to Carter County and Elizabethton.”

Donley is also a storyteller. One of 12 siblings, Donley has many stories from her childhood and her travels while in the military.

Donley currently has artwork ranging from oil paintings to prints to scarfs on display at Blue River Studio.