Artists in our town: Judy Rentner

By Margaret Roberts | Nov 13, 2013

I usually take a stroll through Waynesville's galleries about once a month.  I'm impressed that the artists are continually creating and displaying new work.

As I walked through Twigs and Leaves recently, I noticed what I thought was a new artist.  Nope... It was my old friend Judy Rentner whose canvasses were painted in a new palette and style. That's Judy — always trying new techniques and mediums.  She's the "go to" person when any of us artists want to glean information on materials, critiques or new techniques.

Even though I know Judy well, I really didn't know about her background in art.  I took the time to find out and found her art education as varied as her paintings.

Judy grew up in a small town in Ohio, and as is often the case in small towns, there was little opportunity for exposure to art. (Aren't we fortunate that is not the case in Waynesville?)

On a whim, she decided to major in art in college because it sounded exciting and different.  She enjoyed drawing and art history, but actually never saw anyone paint during her entire time in college.

After receiving her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, she worked in interior design in Washington, D.C., and later as an art teacher in the California public school system.  When she became a wife and mother, she would occasionally have time to paint and take workshops.

She started painting in watercolor about 20 years ago and now paints in acrylics and oils as well. She is currently concentrating in oils and occasionally teaches oil painting for beginners. As she encourages her students, she reminds them that, "taking the first step is the biggest step of all. As in all things, the more one practices, the better one becomes."

Her current work is inspired by western artists who use a palette knife instead of a brush to create landscapes. She uses a lavish amount of paint in bright, broken, color.

"I'm calling the series 'Arrayed in Light,' and hope that on an emotional level the paintings reflect the light of the Creator Himself,” Judy says of her present theme.

On Dec. 6, Judy will be featured at the Asheville Gallery of Art on their last "Art Walk" of the year. Her show will be feature for the entire month.  Judy's work can also be seen at our local gallery, Twigs and Leaves, on Waynesville's Art Walks and Mondays through Saturdays throughout the year.

You can also view her work online at

Margaret Roberts is a local artist who has her work displayed at several downtown Waynesville galleries. She has a bachelor’s degree in art and a master’s degree in adult education and specializes in watercolor collage. contact her at