January 18, 2023

“Rip Woods was my instructor for several classes while I was an Arizona State University graduate student in art. I was struggling during that time, and I found my conversations with Rip to be comforting, not because he was attempting to mentor me in any obvious way. Rip listened to me, but I mostly wanted to listen to everything he said. His carefully spoken words were emphasized with pauses, which caused me to be even more interested in what he might say next. I had a sense of great depth of thought. A few years later, when Rip announced his retirement, I arranged a modest retirement get-together with some fellow grad students at Mitchell Studios. We ended up sitting on the sidewalk out front for relaxed conversation. He seemed grateful for our small gathering, and we were grateful to have him there. I wanted Rip to feel appreciated, but instead he made us feel appreciated. All these years later, I am still grateful for my time with Rip Woods, a person of big heart and large intellect.” — Carolyn Lavender

Phoenix resident Carolyn Lavender grew up in the suburbs outside of Seattle. Born in 1959, she was 17 when her family moved to the Phoenix area, which was a difficult change from the fields and woods of the Pacific Northwest. She earned a bachelor of fine arts in drawing, and a bachelor of science in education at Northern Arizona University, followed by a master of fine arts in drawing from Arizona State University. For 15 years she taught high school art, and currently teaches for Phoenix College. Lavender is an active part of the Phoenix arts community.