Judie Vivian: Brilliant Moments, Caught Forever on Canvas

Published Apr. 20th 2011

There’s no need to bring a camera along on vacation if you’ve got Judie Vivian with you. This watercolor and oil painter from California has a remarkable ability to capture special moments and places in time with all the vividness and detail of a photograph.

Although she has a special place in her heart for capturing the likeness of people and animals, Judie excels at painting landscapes. She is especially enchanted by the beautiful colors and light found in Hawaii, one of her favorite locations for creating art.

You can see exactly what I mean in Maui Dancers, (shown below) which seems to emit energy and light through Judie’s spellbinding use of realism.

maui dancers[1]

I absolutely love the way the light streams across the woman’s face, aglow with effortless focus and grace. Bright hues in the clothing, and the dancers’ warm sun-soaked skin make me yearn to put my toes in the sand. The swirling blue background compliments the foreground, increasing the vibrancy of the painting and setting its liveliness in motion.

It’s said that Hawaiian dancers tell an elaborate story through the movement of their dance. . . and this scene is so real, so genuine, that I can’t help but wonder about this particular story which has been suspended forever in time.

Now, San Tropez Port (below) is a different kind of painting, but no less colorful and with a beautiful composition that I enjoy very much.

san tropez port

Cast in shadow, the foreground of rocks and boulders creates a natural frame for the painting. As the beach wraps around from left to right, it draws my eye across the entire piece to ensure I don’t miss a single detail.

Not only that, but Judie does an excellent job of layering objects to give a realistic sense of depth, beginning at the rocks and leading out to the water, buildings and distant mountains.

The basic design and earthy, dusty tones of the buildings bring to mind simpler times, making it easy to imagine that at one time, a woman must have stood out on the balcony, shaking out blankets or rugs. The shimmery, colorful reflection of the buildings in the cove’s still water creates additional interest, reminding me my own quiet, inner reflections.

But it’s not all fun in the sun, as Judie’s next painting, Hearts and Minds, depicts a more serious scene—doctors in the midst of surgery.

hearts and minds

The viewpoint, typically reserved solely for doctors, makes me feel as if I’m actually in the room while an operation is taking place. Through the use of darker, cool colors, a focused, solemn mood is created, as each surgeon’s concentration to preserve a life makes me almost afraid to breathe.

The title speaks of the push and pull of the situation. . . great minds are at work because hearts are on the line.

In each of Judie’s paintings there is a powerful narrative, beautifully painted, which always leave me searching for answers. I encourage you to see more of Judie’s work (including some stunning portraits) by visiting her website.

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