28 Feb Student Spotlight: Judy Liss
We recently sat down for a fun conversation with one of our beloved students, Judy Liss.
If you come to in-person or online oil painting classes, you likely know Judy. Her vivacious personality, humor, and contagious joy makes her instant friends with many in the studio. If you have had classes with Judy, you also know that she is so much fun! You might not know that Judy is a newcomer to art making. Learn more about how she got started below.
ASA: So, Judy, we understand that you used to work as a clown, that is great place to begin. Can you tell us more about that? Did you do birthday parties?
JL: I did that, but I also was a clown for The Department of Neurology at Children’s Hospital. When the children would go in for spinal taps it was my job t go in there and come up with some sort of humor to help the child and parents calm down. That’s what I did for years.
ASA: Before coming to Atelier, you had never made art. How did you decide that you wanted to start painting and drawing?
JL: I have a group of friends that I play poker with. One of my poker buddies, invited us to her home in Mexico for a getaway. I was on the airplane sitting next to one of the ladies. I know her, but don’t really know her. We were talking and I said, “Lisa you are a wonderful artist, will you teach me how to draw a face? I want to draw Oprah Winfrey.” Even though my Oprah Winfrey turned out to be the Bride of Chuckey, it was fun.
She told me “Judy there is a new art studio opening, you have to go study with Todd Burroughs.” When I got there, they were delivering the easels and I saw Todd out front. We started to talk and that was the beginning for me. I am starting my third year with Atelier.
ASA: How were you feeling about starting to study art?
JL: After talking with Todd, I was really anxious to learn, I had never had painted, I had never held a paint brush, it was just something that I had never done. After talking with Todd, he told me, “You can do this, I promise you.” I told him OK, you design my education and that was the beginning for me.
I am always looking for challenges, when I first started with Atelier golf was my summer challenge and I was looking for art to be my winter challenge. Eventually my art has taken over more and more of my time.
ASA: How did you feel after finishing your first painting?
JL: Shocked! Oh my god! I did this? I couldn’t believe it, especially since I have malady with my eyes. When I was a child, I burned the retina in both of my eyes by looking at an eclipse. This means that I do not have any direct center vision. To see something, I have to look above or below to view it with my peripheral vision. I told Todd that I don’t know if you can teach me, but I am willing to try. Now I’ve done over a dozen paintings.
ASA: How do you feel about being an artist?
JL: I’ve had a lot of losses in my life, my art takes me from a sad place to the very happiest place. Life is life: Art is a whole new world I can get lost in, and I do.