Something in the watercolor

Libby Rudolf’s paintings on display at Yellow Springs Brewery

There’s an old adage that says, “Once an artist, always an artist.” For artist Libby Rudolf, those words hold more than just a kernel of truth.

Born in Jamestown, New York, Rudolf spent much of her childhood moving around to different parts of the country.

“I think it was my dad searching for the perfect place to work,” she recalls.

Eventually they settled in Annapolis, Maryland, where she spent the remainder of her childhood. During that time, she and her paternal grandmother, Lilian, spent many lively afternoons creating works of art together.

“She would have me come over and put something on the record player, and we would sit in her solarium and paint,” says Rudolf, her smile so big I could feel it over the phone.

Her grandmother worked with a variety of mediums including watercolor, oil and acrylic. She lovingly passed those techniques onto her granddaughter. “That was when I was pretty young,” she says.

As Rudolf got older and moved away to college, she took her love of art and painting with her. When she started working in a fabric store, Rudolf extended her artistic talents and experimented with sewing.

“I used to sew fancies and clothes and whatnot,” she says, adding, “I love to quilt, too, and make little things out of different fabrics.”

Of course, being a true artist, she expanded her horizons to include beads. She chuckles, “I just love to play with them. You have to do different stuff every once in a while, right?” Her beaded works are currently being displayed at Village Artisans.

While her playful approach to different forms of art whisper hints of her dedication to learning and trying all things artistic, her paintings boast raw talent. Her melodious blends of soft and colorful hues and combinations of delightfully tempered impressionistic forms create works of art that are as soothing as they are uplifting.

Rudolf draws her inspiration from a number of impressionist and post-impressionist painters including Monet and Vincent Van Gogh as well as influences from people she had the good fortune to study with, including Frederick C. Graff of the National Watercolor Society and Enid Willard of the Springfield Museum of Art.

What’s unique and fun about her artwork is how she varies her form. While some of her works, like “Tree in the Light” and “Bird’s Eye View,” show her aptitude for playing with light and shadow, others such as “Ann’s Poppy Garden” and “Barefoot in the Sunflowers” showcase her talent for working within color pallets. Her personal favorite is a painting that, surprisingly, she hasn’t showcased yet called “Honeybiz.”

“It captures that whole hope of getting honey from your hive and hoping your bees will thrive over the winter,” Rudolf says, “so it has a smoker and a beekeeper’s hat and a jar of honey. Then in the background I have the hive and the flowers.” She adds, “I love to paint outdoors if I can and that one was painted partly outdoors and partly from taking photographs and using those as a reference.”

As much as she loves art, Rudolf loves helping others. Her piece “Kimono” was accepted into the University of Cincinnati Health Women’s Center Juried Art Exhibit titled Survivor – Art and Healing this past November.

“When I stepped back, it just made me think of somebody spinning in their kimono,” Rudolf says. “Then when I saw the show prospectus, it made me think of a woman who is going through a terrible time of doubt and fear with cancer and chemotherapy and is still able to dance with her spirit coming through helping her to get through all of that.”

Her piece will be showcased for a year.

“I love how they hung it. It’s a beautiful show, and it’s just so exciting to be accepted into it.”

Just a year prior, Libby had another one of her paintings titled “Collage of Flowers” hung in the Dayton Children’s Hospital. The piece was submitted to honor Vanessa Sims and others who are battling cancer.

Libby also helps out the Community Food Initiatives in Yellow Springs by donating a portion of her sales at various events including the most recent art reception at The Brewery.

Besides being an artist with a big heart, Rudolf is actively involved in the Yellow Springs art community. She is part of the groups, Monday Morning Artists, W.O.W.S. (Western Ohio Watercolor Society), O.W.S. (Ohio Watercolor Society) and is a contributor to the Yellow Springs Arts Council and the Fairborn Arts Association. She also has an upcoming show at The Winds Cafe in May.

Libby Rudolf’s ColorfulLibby – Watercolors for CFI exhibition will be on display now through Feb. 1 at the Yellow Springs Brewery, 305 N. Walnut St. in Yellow Springs. For more information, please visit or

Reach DCP freelance writer Lisa Bennett at

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Lisa Bennett
Reach DCP freelance writer Lisa Bennett at

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