Judy Bear - Biography
Raised in central Toronto, I was privileged to have access to art galleries, after-school art lessons from an early age, and a scholarship to weekend programs through the Ontario College of Art. But my heart was always at our family cottage where many hours were spent hiking and canoeing, often alone, during the shoulder seasons. It was here that I developed a strong appreciation for solitude while surrounded by trees and water. After four years in Kingston obtaining a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) degree at Queen’s University, I moved into a small century home on Planks Lane in the town of Uxbridge.
In the mid 1980’s, Uxbridge had many artists quietly working but there was little opportunity to showcase and connect with one another. In 1985, a small group began The Uxbridge Celebration of the Arts (UCA) and the following year I was offered the opportunity to participate in it’s early formation; to learn, to grow, to connect with visual artists, writers, filmmakers, to develop! I become an Artistic Director for a few years, focused on involving the community through school connections and in the process, connected to a wonderful group of artists. The Uxbridge Studio Tour (UST) was originally part of this organization. The UCA and UST connections have provided me with some of my closest friends, supports and constructive feedback for the past three decades.
During this time I painted images from Uxbridge and surroundings, transforming my subject matter to include people, prompted by the arrival of my children. I established a variety of children’s art courses from my home studio, taught part-time at Durham College for 10 years, was a member of the board of the Latcham Gallery, and created floor cloths, murals and faux finishes for interior designers. These decades were busy with volunteering for community groups, working in a variety of schools as a visiting Artist, designing posters and sets for community theatre, and completing private commissions. All these events supported and enhanced my visual interpretation of my environment and participating in a variety of group and one-person art shows.
Since 2001, much of my time has evolved around being both a classroom teacher and a student. To be effective, I’m challenged to view life through others eyes. This is both a gift of growth, and at times a humbling experience. My regard for quiet on my ‘off time’ has increased and my approach to my artwork has changed as well. What has remained the same is the quest for peace. The twisting paths of greenery in a forest, ripples on a wetland, water of any kind; these locales still speak to me of the essence of life and peace.
In 2010, I moved ten minutes south of Uxbridge to my present location. Surrounded by nature, my artwork is slowly becoming more abstract. I am driven to find the moment we are transcended from place, the moment we find peace. What does that look like?
While I work in all mediums, Oils are my favourite! I love the light and colour to achieved by the suspension of the pigment in the oil and the light that refracts through this medium.
Over the past three years, I have been using more in terms of three dimensions and mixerd media in my work. This started with several road trips where I rediscovered a love of maps, which began in my childhood with my Dad giving me ownership to discover the 'route'. I started to incorporate the actual map of the trip from where my inspiration origionated. Then, the map was not enough... ticket stubs and other paraphanalia needed to be placed as well in the project.
recently, I have begun a series of past memories which have incorporated images within the paintings. I'm having a lot of fun and hope to hear your comments on this new work.
My current artwork is a spiritual quest to capture a memory of place and time.
Our surroundings are constantly changing both within and outside of our control. It is healthy to step out of our environment, to encounter another view, to question. My current work reflects on my environment. But the criteria remain unchanged. Peace, space, texture, and the unknown surprise. The unknown sometimes shows itself in the process and it is this gift of revelation that fuels my creative journey.