Judith Joseph

Woodblock prints, egg tempera paintings, multi-media works by artist Judith Joseph

Much of my work springs from illuminated manuscripts:  ancient decorated, hand-lettered texts.  I love miniature medieval illustrations with their quirky, often bizarre imagery that ranges from holy inspiration to bawdy violence.

My love of letters extends beyond their forms to literary inspiration and narrative content.  Sometimes I think my paintings are children’s book illustrations that have wandered into a grown-up place.

I am inspired by family migration and spiritual wonderment, personified by owls and peacocks in shimmering forests.  Jewish lore looms large.

My favorite medium is egg tempera.  I mix my paint from scratch, using fresh egg yolks and pure pigments with a glass muller, literally “mulling it over”.

I also enjoy the tactile qualities of working my drawings into copper and brass sheets, going over and over the lines on both sides, until they develop a bas-relief.

I love to explore the expressive qualities of different media.   My newest medium is woodblock prints. Each medium tells the story in a different voice.

For me, there is an inextricable link between my natural materials and nature as a source of inspiration: including the walnut ink I brewed from the black walnut tree in my garden.

My work is intensely detail-oriented and labor-intensive; a meditative process which allows my ideas to develop slowly and deeply.  There is a devotional, meditative (even obsessive) quality to these tactile techniques.


For me, making art is a way to explore, to inscribe, to celebrate, to leave something behind.

photos by Amy Perlmutter, photo on right by Beth McKenna.