I grew up in the wide open country of the South Dakota prairie and the Black Hills, riding horses, camping and fishing in rugged and wide open country. I learned an appreciation for nature and the environment through experience and the tutelage of my father, a pioneering conservationist who truly understood, loved and cared for our natural resources. I learned early on that man was a part of not apart from the planet.

My current work is a combination of monoprint and mixed media. I think of monoprinting not so much as a printing technique but as another kind of brush for my painting. Pressing pigment into paper from a plate results in a different surface quality than pigment painted directly onto the paper. The weight of the press weds pigment to paper. Some works are just layers of monoprint. Some are a combination of this technique and painting. This combination allows me to layer images a technique that develops tension, depth, richness and mystery. My final images evolve from the process I want the process to be evident in the final art work.

I work intuitively, struggling to trust the touch of a place that is my experience. The honesty of the image resists the tendency toward nostalgia that sweetens and sentimentalizes. In this series I'm striving to play the interior of the rather small format against the expansiveness of the image too large to fully comprehend, seeing only parts with hints of the whole.

These images of nature range from the Black Hills of South Dakota to my new home in New Mexico. I see our world as interconnected: every human, every animal, every blade of grass, every structure affecting the other. We are all part of one organism the earth. I see past edges defining space...some light-filled, expansive...some emptied, leaving a darkness. This world is much bigger than I. Can I surrender myself and embrace it? May I do so with grace.

Judith Bever