Judith Lavendar was born in Detroit just as the United States was entering World War II. Raised on a horse farm, her first artistic endeavors were drawing the horses around her and she dreamed one day of being a horse show photographer. Her family were collectors of nineteenth century art and fine furnishings and Judith grew up surrounded by the paintings of van Dyke, Reynolds, and Turner. Educated in New England she received her B A from the University of Kentucky in fine art. She was on her way to New York to become an Abstract Expressionist but went home to be with her grandmother. She painted and submitted to juried shows but soon married, had a son, trained race horses and worked as news and magazine photographer. Her art making moved from a studio to the kitchen table where Judith made leather belts decorated with galloping horses and produced collages from the magazine section of the New York Times.

In 1999, Lavendar moved to New Mexico where she followed the trails of Georgia O’Keefe, painted the landscape with Wolf Kahn, studied with Joan Snyder, and eventually studied at the University of Arizona where she hoped to become a political painter. In 2003, she was appointed State Coordinator for a presidential campaign where her art took another back seat. She continued working in electoral politics and making art on the kitchen table.

In 2005, Lavendar returned to New York City and began art studies in earnest at the Art Students’ League, and then in the studio program at the New York Studio school. She worked with atelier heads, Carole Robb and Bill Jensen. She received her MFA from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 2014.

Although Lavendar’s lifestyle shifted from rural to city life a strange blend of the two occurs. Odd people, horses, dogs, and sometimes cars and planes inhabit the same space where they are often at odds with one another. The images are personal and psychologically charged and depict family relations or disasters like 9-11; life at curious or dramatic moments. Lavendar’s portraits are occasionally humorous or they seek to bring out the conflicts in personality of the subjects through placement or environment or expression and seem to be seeing more than a reflection but kinds of reflections of her own inner world.

Lavendar has shown her work in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Washington D.C., Virginia, and New Mexico.

Artist’s Statement


The brain constructs one’s view of reality. My work is based on the things I love or things I hate. I use this juxtaposition to reflect the
conflict I experience in my psyche and in daily life including the news. The eye picks up two dimensional images and the brain processes this and produces a real picture. The world is constructed, not only of real life data but perceptions and memories and things stored in the
unconscious. It’s own view of reality.

My subjects include horses which were my growing up in Kentucky. Horses, pleasant memories, probably appeared before the human figure. Other things that interest me are things people do, the reasons for people’s behavior, and human interactions.

When I am not working from a photograph or a specific memory I begin working with a concept which gets stored off to the side as I pick up art making tools. I may have made a trip to an “idea site” to come away with fresh views or a fresh outlook on a subject, or I begin with a prompt – the life room, a photo or from a piece of writing. I begin with generalities and gradually fill in the specifics much as a witness to a crime does. My drawings and paintings reflect childhood memories as well as the current social scene.

My goal is to entice the viewer into the work and hope the experience gives way to something more than I had originally planned. I might call myself a psychological realist.




2014 MFA, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, low residency program, Provincetown, Massachusetts

2011-2013 New York Studio School, certificate program.

1963 B.A., Fine Arts University of Kentucky , Lexington, Kentucky

1991 M.A. Art Therapy, George Washington University, Washington, DC 2012 Residency at the Vermont Studio Center

1994 – present Master Classes with Joan Snyder and Wolf Kahn. Workshops and extended training with: Hong Nuyan Zhang and Lois Wooley, Jim Peters, Jennie Lee Knight, William Woodward, University of Arizona graduate program, and at the Art Students’ League.



2013 Provincetown Art Museum MFA show

2007 IASG traveling group show

2003 Baca Street Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico

1990 Picture This, Warrenton, Virginia

1991 Middle St. Gallery, Washington, Virginia

1989 The Corcoran School of Art

1966 Towson State College, Towson, Maryland

1964 National Print & Watercolor Show, Washington, D. C.

1964 Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio



2013 Touchstone Gallery, Washington, DC

1995 Santa Fe Contemporary Arts, Santa Fe, New Mexico

1990 Picture This Gallery, Warrenton, Virginia



1992-1995 represented by Santa Fe Contemporary Arts

(1993 – present) Work appeared as logo for the Fauquier County Virginia Ride-A-Thon Therapeutic Riding Program.