Judy Willemsma – Artist

I love to be out in nature. The natural world is another large inspiration for my artwork.

Judy Willemsma

I grew up in many places across Canada, including Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal (twice), Ottawa, and Kitchener. As a kid, I did not form a firm attachment to any one place to call home, but rather, I moved with my family and had the privilege of knowing many “hometowns”. The deep meaning of “home” has become the inspiration for my artwork presently.

I studied fine art at the Ontario College of Art (now called OCAD University).  I spent a year studying painting and drawing in Florence, Italy. It was a wonderful experience.  I learned about the discipline needed to be a self-directed artist and what it means to stick with it every day. This discipline remains with me today.

Today, I call Brampton, Ontario, my home. I have lived in Brampton for many years, raised my three kids here, and had a successful career as a self-employed mural painter. I traveled from one school to another, mostly within the Peel District School Board, and painted on walls, often with kids. I had the enormous privilege of working with kids in small groups and facilitating their creativity. I worked with teachers sharing my expertise with them as they shared their “teacher wisdom” with me. Win. Win. Win. The joyful experience of discovery has become the inspiration for my artwork presently.

I love to be out in nature. When I was a teenager, my sister and I had a red canoe. We would hoist it over our heads, lug it across a farmer’s field outside of Ottawa, and spend countless joyful hours exploring the Rideau River. My summer days were filled with tumbling turtles, perfect white lilies, majestic herons, and wise old jackpines. What wonderful times. I still love the natural world. Today, my husband and I have a couple of small kayaks that we take to beautiful Ontario lakes whenever we get the chance. We often visit the Kawartha Highlands, Algonquin Park, or Luther Marsh. The natural world is another large inspiration for my artwork.

I have retired from creating murals, and I have more time to spend painting. My passion is to explore the careful balance between abstracted and representational artwork in each of my paintings. I explore rich textures and expressive colours through abstraction. Moreover, representational silhouette shapes offer context and meaning to my works of art. Today, my artwork is a culmination of all of the sources of inspiration mentioned above and much more.

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