Juanita Becker has been selected as the Virgin Valley Artists Association October Artist of the Month.
Like many talented fine artists, Becker started taking art lessons at an early age. When she was 8 years old, she was enrolled in a children’s art program, under the brush of Eleanor P. Stanton, who later became Juanita’s art teacher in high school, as well as her art mentor.
“I began my professional career, after graduation from high school, as an artist for the Harrisburg-Patriot News in Pennsylvania, under the leadership of Nick Ruggieri,” she said.
Ruggieri studied in the U.S. and abroad and was a signature member of many U.S. and international watercolor societies, including the National Watercolor Society.
Later after her marriage and the birth of her son, Becker went on to found her own advertising agency, specializing in fashion illustration and general specialty artwork. In 1976, she accepted the position of art director with Wilton Armetale. While at Wilton, a metal dinnerware and accessories company, she was a designer and coordinator of their special cresting and design department until her retirement 10 years later.
In 1998, Becker’s husband, Donald G. Becker, also retired, and they made the move to St. George, Utah, where she joined the newly formed Southern Utah Watercolor Society (SUWS). She became a SUWS Founding Member, a SUWS Signature Member and she sat on the SUWS Board of Directors of six years.
Becker notes she was basically a self-taught artist. When she saw Utah’s beautiful red rocks, she looked for guidance in painting them. She says, “I found that guidance in a workshop conducted by the late Wallace Lee, and then I took art classes at Dixie State College.
“My watercolor classes at Dixie with Max Bunnell were especially helpful,” she said/
Becker attended other workshops with Carol Purcell and Ian Ramsy, as well as classes in ceramics, life drawing, acrylics, pastel, watercolor and sculpture, greatly furthered her talent.
This multi-talented artist is also a wonderful designer of unique, stunning jewelry. Becker creates her jewelry in fine Sterling Silver, 14K Gold, and natural stones. Her beautiful Southwest design jewelry is available in the gift shop at the Mesquite Fine Arts Center and at Sunset Framer in St. George.
Becker is especially well renowned for her watercolors, which can be found in galleries in Utah and private collections across the U.S. She has won numerous awards for her watercolors, including many Best of Show awards, Sweepstake and Reserve Sweepstake awards. Some of her awards and honors include winning first place for watercolor in the 2005 Art in the Park in St. George, the St. George Art Museum “Regional” 7th and 8th annual juried exhibits, a one-woman art show at the Iron Mission in Cedar City and the “Bit and Spur” in Rockville, Utah. Becker has been the featured artist at the Artist’s Gallery in Washington City, Utah, and here in Mesquite. Her sumptuous watercolor painting of an Argentina Cactus, entitled, “One Day in the Sun”, was just selected to win a “Best in Show” ribbon in the current “Desert Treasures” exhibit at the Mesquite Fine Arts Gallery. As October Artist of the Month, VVAA member Juanita Becker will show a variety of her artwork, including watercolors and jewelry.
Visit the Mesquite Fine Arts Gallery at 15 W. Mesquite Blvd., from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondasy through Saturdays to experience all the fine art offered. For information call 702-346-1338 or visit www.mesquitefineartscenter.com.