MY CREATIVE JOURNEY by Judi Wild
Through the years I have been asked "from where do you gather your inspiration for your work?" My answer seemed so obvious at the time. "My creative inspiration comes from the natural world which surrounds me. Its my religion, my church.....my spirituality". After delving into my past I realize that my artwork is very much a composite of my past.......and my inspiration comes from my many experiences gained throughout my life.
I have always been a creative soul............bursting with positive artistic energy fueled by the encouragement from family, teachers friends and art enthusiasts. My mother recognized my talent before me. As a youngster I was drawing on walls, sculpting with Plasticine....building sandcastles ..........whatever I could find to express my creativity. My mother often told the story of how amazed she was when I showed her a perfect sculpted replica of a camel. I am now wondering if it was an attempt at a horse which I had seen on several occasions in rural Alberta. Her enthusiasm was uplifting. She was my greatest fan and encouraged me later in life to pursue my passion. I think her biggest regret was that she didn't pursue her own dreams and wanted her youngest daughter to have that encouragement & opportunity that she missed.
During the first few years of my life we lived near a Native reserve in Rural Alberta and were very poor. It was here that I absorbed the culture and spirituality of our First nations Peoples. Those years have greatly influenced my later paintings: both my Ninstints series and my Spirits series.
At age 4 my mother made the tough decision to return to her more comfortable childhood surroundings with us two girls in tow, minus my Dad. He suffered greatly with PTSD after the autrosities witnessed in WW11. In the late 40's it was not a recognized disorder. The family suffered as well as the soldier. We traveled across Canada by train and from Nova Scotia by boat to Southern England. This new country was a stark contrast in lifestyles but I eagerly adapted. My new school introduced me to the study of watercolors which I still use today. I was supported and encouraged throughout my school years and my enthusiasm grew.
I later returned to Alberta, Canada. I worked as a drafting technologist for the Provincial Government by day while taking the necessary night courses at night. There was intense homework during those years. I was raising 2 small children at the time .......along with my husband and found life extremely challenging.
In those years we didn't have the C.A.D program.....every line was measured by hand and every calculation individually figured. My boss Fred Shcultz, was very precise and demanded perfection. He patiently taught me to use trigonometry for every angle instead of using the supplied drafting arm.
This meticulous work has stuck with me and reflects in my work..............I am still striving for detailed perfection in my artwork. Realism is my ultimate goal & has become a delightful obsession.
After 10 years I reached the position of Drafting Technologist 111. My yearning for a more creative lifestyle prompted me to take a demotion and accept a Graphics position with the Government where I designed traffic signs instead of interchanges and highways.
I later worked for another 11 years as a graphic designer for the City of Edmonton. Edmonton telephones recognized my thirst for creativity and gave me several special projects with far reaching world-wide exposure. I designed the City of Edmonton's phone book cover in 1989 and my artwork instantly appeared in 650,000 homes. Prints were made of the tiger image entitled "This earth is ours to share" and given as corporate gifts world-wide, as well I was given the generous opportunity to distribute to my own clients. My wolf painting entitled A Call from the Wild appeared on the corporate Christmas card one year, which was also distributed world-wide.
I was also advancing my painting career at night, often working into the early hours of the morning. My job as a designer also demanded much of my attention, with many deadlines & many hours of overtime.
Because a market for my art began to develop quite rapidly, I had to make a decision whether to remain in my secure job as a graphic designer or move to Vancouver Island & follow a life-long dream of earning a living solely from my watercolors.
On several occasions I have regretted choosing the latter. I had no marketing experience and had always had my clients approach me when living in Edmonton. The next few years proved to be a bumpy journey, but I am a survivor.
With a positive attitude & determination and a few hungry years, I rose above the years of struggle to a sustainable life as a respected & renowned artist. I am represented in the National Archives of Canada, and my art is displayed world-wide in both corporate & private collections.......even exotic places like Saudi Arabia and India.
Through the years I have developed a little-used dry-brush watercolor technique which I still use today. My watercolor style is quite unique. I begin by applying several layers of transparent color over a completed pencil drawing, followed by hours & hours of intricate detailed work. I have been told that my images have remarkable depth to them, so much so that it is hard to believe that I am working on a flat surface. Because it takes hundreds of hours to finish a painting, I sometimes am able to complete only one major piece per year.
When I first moved to Vancouver Island I lived in a small trailer midst 80' cedar trees, surrounded by wild birds. Here, I began painting a series of West Coast birds, which lent itself well to this meticulous dry-brush technique.
My later collages reveal both my childhood fascination for the legends & beliefs of the ancient Coastal tribes and my respect & concern for the environment. I now live in retreat on the east coast of Vancouver Island and enjoy giving back to the community and charities. I am especially interested in helping the animal and bird rescue centres of the West coast.
"After writing my artistic story and delving into my past I reiterate my previous remark "We are a composite of our past". Looking back through the years, I am both astounded and appreciative of the mentors, clients, friends and family who have helped and encouraged me. They have all greatly influenced my artwork and who I have become today. I am eternally grateful to all these people".