In her career as a professional painter, Judith Mackey is established as the Kansas Flint Hills Painter. Mackey, paints that which is most familiar to her —the unique landscape of the tallgrass prairie, working cowboys, and the ranch life that surrounds her rural Chase County home.
A native Kansan, Mackey’s early artistic style was influenced by some of the leading Western artists whose work she began to study in the 1960s. It was a few years later, when she settled in Chase County, that Mackey’s interest in the Flint Hills began. Mackey has devoted much of her life to visually documenting the history and rare beauty of the land where she lives and works. Her efforts have culminated in an extraordinary body of work and have won her many honors.
One of Mackey’s honors is her induction into the American Royal Western Art Association in 1988. She holds the distinction of being the first woman and the first Kansan to attain this honor. In 2005, Mackey had three paintings accepted into the prestigious Arts for the Parks national competition, and that same year was accepted into the National Oil Painters of America National Juried Competition, held in Chicago, Illinois. In 1997, 2003, and 2004, Mackey placed in the Arts for the Parks juried competitions. In 1999, her work was selected for the Save American Treasures exhibit, shown at the White House in Washington, D.C. In 2005, Mackey was accepted into the American Women Artists National Show held in Dallas, Texas, where she won an award of merit. For the past two years, she has been juried into the Salon International Competition in San Antonio, Texas, an important exhibition for artists of the West. Judith Mackey’s painting, “Crowned With Glory”, was one of the paintings featured in the Homage to the Flint Hills touring exhibit in 2004.
Mackey’s work has been published in numerous magazines including Persimmon Hill, the official publication of the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City. Her painting, “Storm Over the Flint Hills”, was chosen for the book cover of the national bestseller, PrairyErth by William Least Heat-Moon. In 2004, she was a featured artist in the New York Times article titled, “Sowing Art on the Kansas Prairie” and was filmed in her studio for a CBS documentary on the same subject. She was featured in 2008 in a Special by WIBW TV, Topeka, titled “Kansas Sky The Art of the Plains””
Today, Judith Mackey still finds inspiration in the prairie she knows so intimately and the tradition of ranch life she loves. Her canvases come to life with Flint Hills scenes such as great roiling thunderheads, brilliant red sunsets, vast prairie lands, cowboys on horseback with heads bent against icy winds, or a single redbud tree in bloom beside a small creek.