It was an honor to be featured as the St. Albert Gazette’s ‘Artist of the Month’ for October 2015! Since early September I had been communicating with Jessica at the Art Gallery of St. Albert to arrange my bringing in new paintings for their Art Rental and Sales program. She asked if I would be at all interested in being featured during the month of October. I was really excited by the prospect of sharing my work with a wider audience. The Gazette sent a photographer to the Gallery and two showed up! Scott Hayes, the Gazette’s arts and culture reporter, also came to the gallery and made the interview process fun and stress free.
Below is a copy of the article written by Scott Hayes which was printed in the October 14, 2015 edition. I was thrilled with the article he wrote and I hope you enjoy it too!
Perhaps it was meant to be that Judy Schafers has been into art her entire life. she has always loved to paint and always loved the beauteous bounty of nature too.
After all, she joked, she couldn’t exactly have a career in hockey.
“I was really bad at sports!” she laughed. “I was good at this. It was the path of least resistance.”
Yes, art has been a part of her life sine she was a teenager, even winning her awards while she was still in high school. Painting only became a serious pastime after she got married more than 30 years ago. They moved to a farm near Villeneuve, an idyllic settlement that was ideal in its setting too. After all, what’s better for a nature-loving artist than surrounding her with nature and giving her plenty of room to work? There’s lots of inspiration where she lives. Her main artistic influence has always been Mother Nature, she said, adding that she only has to look outside the door of her Prairie Sky Studio to see her next landscape, floral or abstract composition. There are endless possibilities.
“Art has really helped me to grow the other side of me,” the former wallflower said. In fact, she grows many of her subjects. There’s wheat and fava beans in the fields plus a big ol’ flower patch on the side and a vegetable garden for her dinner table. Between the farming and the painting, it’s any wonder if she’ll ever have clean fingernails.
“Until I cut them off,” she said with a hearty laugh. “I go to the bank with paint on my hands.”
The rustic life of an artist is indeed one of dirt and paint, and endless growing opportunities. She was a shy kid, she confessed, and would have continued to be content in her shyness as an adult if it weren’t for people encouraging her to show her work in public.
“I decided that, you know what, if the house is filling up then I need to figure out what to do with this stuff.”
That was a good call. It led to her first exhibit at an art store in Grandin Mall in 1992. She hasn’t looked back since. Schafers has taken a bumper crop of art awards including first and third places in the masters category at this year’s Open Art Competition, put on by the Allied Arts Council of Spruce Grove. She took first and second places for the masters there last year too. The well-known figure on St. Albert’s arts scene has many other accolades and has been featured on many gallery walls across this city and throughout the surrounding area.
In addition to residing within numerous corporate collections from the United States to Australia, to Europe, Asia and the Middle East. She even does a ‘blooming’ business taking commissions mostly for nature scenes.
Schafers is represented by the Daffodil Gallery in Edmonton. Her work is also available for sale or rent at the Art Gallery of St. Albert
People can learn more by visiting her website at www.judyleilaschafersfineart.com.
There you have it!
It was really interesting and surprising to hear that the Art Gallery of St. Albert reported a noticeable increase in people visiting the gallery and asking to see my work during the few days after this article ran. It was kind of hard for me to believe, but very cool at the same time! Another win-win for the Gallery and I; the painting of the green aspen leaves was rented out a few days after the feature was published!