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Meet Justine Mantor-Waldie of Desert Textures in Fountain Hills

Today we’d like to introduce you to Justine Mantor-Waldie.

Justine  earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she studied printmaking under the internationally recognized artist, Vera Berdich. Applying to Graduate School at Northern Illinois University, Justine was the first and only student to be approved for her Master’s exhibit on the basis of her portfolio without ever attending classes at the University. She studied printmaking under David Driesbach, and she was awarded her Masters and Master of Fine Arts Degree in 1971. She became an Associate Professor at Loyola University where she taught Color Theory, Design and Drawing. Justine’s work has varied throughout the years concentrating on first Viscosity Printing, later handmade paper, and finally inks and etching on clayboard. She was one of the early members and Board Member of the women’s co-op ARC which is still in operation today.

Moving to Arizona in 1989 and making her home in Fountain Hills, Justine became the Drawing and Painting Artists in Residence for the City of Phoenix. While there, she created workshops in collage and mixed media watercolor and began extensive work with Ampersand clayboards. Justine has continued to exhibit her artwork nationally and internationally with works in the Illinois State Museum Fountain Hills Community Center and the National Museum of Women. An ardent voice for the arts, Justine sat on the National Board of Directors for the Women’s Caucus for Art, New York and was the President of the Arizona AWCA. She early retired from Loyola in 1993 after commuting from Chicago to Arizona for three years. She additionally taught Color, Design, and Drawing at Mesa Community College an additional 13 years.

As a consummate colorist with expertise in printmaking, clayboard provides Justine with a surface that has unusual possibilities. Using ink for painting, she brushes in layers or iridescent inks and transparent colored inks to create shimmering landscapes and a wide variety of desert plant paintings. She adds texture with rhythmic, linear effects by etching into the white under-layer of the blackboards. This unique combination of materials and technique yields rare paintings filled with depth and dynamism. Justine’s paintings are represented in collections throughout the US, Europe. Canada, China, and Mexico.

Mantor-Waldie was a juried member of “Art Expo” for two years. She continues as a professionally juried member of the Sedona Art Center where she has been a featured artist in three exhibits and continues to exhibit and demonstrate her work at the Center. She was a founding member of the Fountain Hills “Tour d’ Artistes” and this will be the eighth year of the Tour. Justine has been a representative and demo artist for Ampersand boards and has conducted workshops for the company throughout Arizona.

A personal experience with the landscape is intertwined with my love of archaeology. Journeys to many sacred sites in the Southwest have enhanced my images with multiple layers of meaning. My layered paintings depict landscape both as an abstraction and a visually created window into reality.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The move to Arizona required me to leave a tenured position at Loyola and then find places to exhibit in Arizona, make new artist connections, all the while commuting by plane between Illinois and Arizona for three years. It was not easy to set everything in place in my new home in Fountain Hills.

While I was President of the Arizona Women’s Caucus for Art, my second husband was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. I nursed him for almost a year only to discover I was not named in the will! I had to fight for my share of the property and had to move out of the home I designed where I had a 1,000′ studio and had to move all my art into a condo and all happening in two weeks. I had a giant yard sale and was forced to watch objects of my life being sold. In the meantime, my 90-year-old Mother in Wisconsin had taken a turn for the worse, and I had to make frequent trips to place her in a nursing home and later, with her passing, settle her estate as an only child. It was a terrible two years, but in the process, I met and married my husband Bill who has been my salesperson, mat cutter, framer and general fan club for my artistic endeavors. After a hard time, my art found its true calling and has been my inspiration for the 20 years of our marriage. So, good does come out of bad.

Desert Textures – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
My business, “Desert Textures” is centered around my artwork which I teach in workshops, demo and display in venues throughout Arizona. I specialize in inks and etching using pearlescent and transparent inks on clayboards. I am known for detail with my paintings along with color effects which are nuanced to illustrate the many varieties of atmospheric effects. What I am most proud of is the over 300 paintings I have created over 14 years; varying in size from 5 x 7″ to 30 x 40″ which been sold to become part of collections throughout the world. What sets me apart from other artists is creativity and patience. Few, if any artists would attempt to create from the painting challenges I engage in my work.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
I define success as learning. What can I learn from the land; how can I visualize its varied effects. I am always looking to make my creations better, and the color more vibrant. Success is not just from selling my pictures but the connections and continuing friendships I have made with my collectors over the years.


  • 5 x 7″ Paintings $275.00
  • 16 x 20″ $1400.00–$3200.00 depending on the complexity and amount of time to create
  • 18 x 24″ Paintings $3400.00–$4500.00 amount of time again
  • 30 x 40″ Paintings $7000.00–$10,000.00
  • Commissions accepted

Contact Info:

  • Address: 12419 N. Fountain Hills Blvd., Fountain Hills, AZ 85268
  • Website:
  • Phone: 480-837-2681
  • Email:


Image Credit:

Cindy Shievitz

Getting in touch: VoyagePhoenix is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Betsy Jensen

    October 22, 2018 at 8:28 pm

    Oh Justine, it is wonderful work AND I thoroughly enjoyed your newsletter. Thank you. Your pictures and info about the Alaska trip was great too . . . I’d “heard” about the log “project” but had never seen it. Yes: HUGE. The pictures of yourself painting is quite lovely too. Sending a hug, Betsy JJ NHS 61.

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