Artist Interview: Judith Kowler

Posted by Jenni Kirby - July 28 2020


Bold brush strokes and bright colors define Judith Kowler’s joyful paintings that are born from a process the artist describes as “a meditative experience.” Born in Brooklyn and transplanted to Richmond in 1978, she has embraced the local art scene and thrived. “I love what’s happened to the art community since I moved here,” she says. 

Kowler, who knew she wanted to be a painter all her life, strives to play in her creative process with no intention of presenting things in a realistic context. “I try to extract a subject and see it in terms of brushstrokes that go into shapes that come into each other - an impression of the scene,” she says. “I get lost in the fun of just letting my brush dance around the canvas.” Like all artists, that process does not always work for her. “Sometimes I just have to wipe it all off or turn it upside down,” she admits. “You learn from each painting you do.”

This sense of playfulness and love for learning made her a great art teacher at the Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School where she started the art department in 1992 and taught for fifteen years. “I am constantly looking at my own work and other people’s paintings,” she says. “I am always looking at art.”

When not in her studio, Kowler, who is the mother of 3 and grandmother of 4, enjoys immersing herself in a good book or exploring the local culture. She is often found in the audience at the symphony, the ballet or the Modlin Center.  She says, “Richmond is filled with wonderful accessible culture.” But her interests expand beyond the local scene. She has enjoyed concerts at the Garth Newel Music Center in Warm Springs and likes preparing and eating international cuisine. 

Kowler considers CAC to be an integral part of the Richmond Art Scene she loves so much as well as a support for her own career. “Crossroads has been a wonderful space for me,” she says. “Jenni is such a cheerleader for the art community! It is so much fun to be a part of it.”