In this week’s issue of the Artist’s Palette, Tehachapi News takes a close look at the fine art of Judith Campanaro, a beloved figure to many around town and across the globe as well.
“The beauty and concept of art surrounds us on a daily basis. Mother Earth, the greatest artist of all, fills our hearts and souls with her mountains, forests, lakes, sunsets, snowflakes,” Judith Campanaro said.
Sometimes people are so busy in life that they hardly have time to notice the wonders around them.
Said Campanaro, “I am fortunate to have discovered the importance of simple serenity through the creative process. As such, my mission is to facilitate empowerment through creative expression. And my mantra is “Just do ART!”
Campanaro said her earliest memories are all art-related.
“The medium didn’t matter. As a child, clay, watercolors, colored pencils, crayons and markers were precious gems. They kept me busy for hours,” she said.
As an adult and a creative artist, Campanaro said her fascination with art-making is still the same as when she was a child.
“If I am having a very bad day and can’t seem to focus on anything but ‘gloom and doom,’ I pick up a paintbrush and lose myself in painting. For hours I am engrossed in a project, and when I’m done, I feel better. Why? A creative process takes place that lifts my ‘depression,’” she said.
Campanaro said she believes art provides solace, comfort and growth to individuals who suffer from many challenges. The creation of art in any form, whether it be educational or therapeutic, is beneficial.
“I have been a therapeutic art educator for over 30 years and during those years have worked with people from all walks of life. I have discovered that the act of creating can and does help people feel better,” she said.
From 1976-1986, she owned and operated the Hobbit School of Art.
“In the beginning years of the Hobbit, I didn’t have much formal training. I just had a love for art making. While working there, I found myself creating with my students,” she said.
Several years ago, she had the opportunity to live in Jamaica, West Indies. While there, she taught art to the children in the village of Three Hills, St. Mary.
“What started as a playful activity turned into a weekly class. One of my most pleasant memories is in the playfield in Three Hills. The wind was blowing, the grass was knee-high, there was the scent of mangoes and ginger in the air, dotting the field were about 30 children all intently focused on their latest creations,” she said.
In 1998, she worked in a senior living center and continued teaching art.
From 2003 until 2009, she worked for several agencies as a family counselor, art therapist, psychotherapist, director of social services, and even had a private practice in Seattle.
From 2011 to 2015, she organized and facilitated workshops at Mercy Hospital in Bakersfield in their Art for Healing Center. She taught painting and self-discovery workshops.
“Currently, I work with cancer patients at the AIS Infusion Center,” she said.
In 2012, she started a nonprofit, the Art and Soul Center. She ran the organization for two years.
“We established art shows for emerging artists, hosted in-home concerts with local musicians and taught art classes at Shelly Baird, an elementary school for special needs students,” she said.
Now that she is in her “sunset years,” she looks back on her history with mixed emotions.
“I’ll never forget the first time I discovered an age spot on my face. I was a little confused because, for a while, I didn’t remember that I was old enough to have age spots,” she said, adding, “I may be a senior but I still have a lot to offer. I refuse to let my spark go out.”
Campanaro is represented at the Cheryl Watts Pottery, Cannery Row, in Monterey, and Zanadu Studios in Scottsdale, Ariz.