Judy cropped
Judy, aged 10. Drawing from a photograph.

I am an artist working from my home studio in Norwood, a suburb of Johannesburg in South Africa. Johannesburg is a wonderful place to paint because we have the most brilliant light throughout the year. Rain comes in the form of abrupt thunderstorms that are dramatic, with majestic dark clouds, but they are over quickly and the clear light returns. In winter particularly, when there is no rain, we enjoy endless brilliant days of sunshine.

My art explores how to represent abstract and complex concepts using colour and shape. People appear to have an innate ability to relate to and understand shape and colour and I am interested in the limits of this visual language, particularly in the expression of abstract and complex concepts like love, connectedness and energy. I am synesthetic and I experience colour as tactile. Feelings and physical sensations are coloured in my world. I use this sense to relate colour to shapes, texture and emotions.

I trained as a mathematician, which is essentially an aesthetic discipline and requires being able to picture abstract concepts. Mathematicians think in diagrams that abstract out the essence of complex concepts into spatial forms. My work was in topology, the study of shapes, and in algebra which includes ways of coding and analysing symmetry. The shapes, symmetry and mental puzzles of Escher were an early influence, although they lacked the essential element of colour. I have worked in developing complex computer systems as well as managing businesses and doing academic research. These pursuits have all developed my sense of complexity and how complex systems function.

In January 2016 I reduced my day job to 2 days a week in order to finally make time to paint. I have an extensive education, but none of it in art. Rather I have learned through short courses in drawing and painting, and through years of practice. I have found books and online videos useful in learning about media and techniques, but nothing beats experience when it comes to developing the muscle memory that is used in drawing and painting and the sense of how medium and substrate interact. Experimenting, repetition, making mistakes, facing problems and working out solutions are all part of my on-going practice.

I was about twelve years old and drawing pictures of my younger sisters when I first became aware of the deep sense of joy that I got from being able to make what I saw come alive on paper. There was something thrilling and deeply satisfying about drawing. This same deep sense of joy is still what drives me. I grew up in a household where art was considered a frivolous waste of time. At school, to my great frustration, I was not allowed to enrol for the art classes and was steered towards science. After years of very structured work in business and education, there is a wonderful freedom in going into my studio and doing what I feel like doing. I work on three or four paintings at a time, moving from one to the next in a state of pure flow.

My art is for sale. Click here for more information or contact me.


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