This month in my series ‘Creatives Living Life In Colour TM’ I am featuring a local artist Jude Lambert. I met Jude when she signed up to do a 4 week beginners acrylic painting workshop with me at Albany Community House. Now Jude is far far far from a beginner as far as art is concerned, but wanted to try her hand at something new – and she most certainly did!
She was born and bred in Auckland, New Zealand where she still lives with her husband. She is an amazing watercolourist and produces the most captivating pet protraits – I hope you enjoy her interview as much as I did!
Please tell us about yourself Jude
I have painted in watercolours for many years now, I started with them just because some came my way but they were so right for me. Watercolour needs speed and focus, they are also closer to nature which I have come to realise is important to me. I started off painting flower studies and watercolour is perfect for fragile petals and curling leaves. But my personal goal was always to be an Illustrator. My flower studies started me off with that, my work was hung in the long gone Downtown Gallery and noticed by greeting card sales people, also one Wine Company, to create some wine labels!
Book illustration had always been at the top of my list though, so eventually I took my portfolio to some children’s book publishers, and some commissions followed. Not too many unfortunately, I never developed a suitable hand for quick lively figures.
After my first book I was impatient for more, and decided that I would have to write a book myself to illustrate. I have been an enthusiastic cook since my marriage back in 1968, so I thought that a cook book would be a possibility, with fresh images of growing plants and their harvesting. I blithely took my ideas in to David Bateman Publishers and was pleased to have it accepted. It took a friend to point out that it was fairly startling to have my first (and only) book immediately taken on like that!
I tried to pursue my dream for some time but I had really reached my level; I drifted into Pet Portraiture which went well for me for some time. That petered out eventually but changing family circumstances were making it difficult to keep up with it anyway.
Pet Portraits have recently made a surprising return to my life due to the TV3 programme Story, its Producer seeing an old poster of mine, and the fact that one of their reporters possessed a remarkably cute puppy. I was offered an feature on prime time NZ TV. How could I refuse? For a link to the story click here … (this video may not play in your region but if it does it’s worth a look Wally is one cute apricot miniature poodle puppy!).
What is your favourite piece of creative equipment and why?
These days I have a small but compact area in my bedroom. We moved into Settlers Retirement Village in Albany Village a year ago and I designed a desk and fittings to support my creative work. This has rapidly become my favourite piece of equipment! The room faces south and overlooks one of the access ways through the village so I also have a view of passers-by! Before this move I had one of our bedrooms for my studio.
What was your journey to becoming an artist?
I have always thought of myself as an artist even during the early years of my marriage when we took a 2-year OE to Europe, and then new babies came to dominate my life. As a child my mother had recognised my passion for drawing and arranged drawing lessons with a local professional artist when I was quite young. Learning classical drawing skills so young gave me an excellent base to build on, and incidentally meant I had quality materials to work with making good results more likely.
I have always seen myself as an illustrator, responding best to creating the best possible image or images required for each commission. Recently however I have discovered another side to my drive to paint, and am looking forward to developing my own creativity. Certainly one of the values of illustration has been that it brought extra income to the family which was always sought after.
But my work is always tied in with the natural world and expressing my love of its beauty and life.
What do you love about being an artist?
I can’t really say what I love about being an artist, it was not something I chose so much as simply it has always been a part of me that simply IS.
What tip would you give to new artists?
To a new artist I would say, always listen to your own feelings about whether a work is right, is the best you can do. Don’t look for others opinions to tell you it is right, and always aim high, if you can do better do it. Persist. Persistence is the only path to your development.
Something surprising about me ? Well I’ve been a bit surprised this year by a sudden realisation that after a very conventional lifestyle right through to 68 years, that I really have strong feelings for an alternative lifestyle. This has come on after becoming friends with a cousin of my husband really just this year, who has always lived an alternative life with a lot of creativity in her music and now dwells on a bush clad property near Whitianga, with gardens carved out on flatter patches. She lives off the land, preserving her produce and taking part in the local Farmers Market. I love visiting her, and have become part of a community garden at Beach Haven. Lovely!
If you would like to find out more about Jude’s pet portraits or commission one of your own pet you can connect with her via email: firstname.lastname@example.org