Born in Cheboygan, Michigan, Judy is a self-taught artist whose work entails watercolor, acrylic, pastels, pencil-sketching, pen and ink, pyrography (otherwise known as wood burning) her favorite.
She resides with her husband, Kurt Thiese and their pet Havenese puppy, Winnifred Joy (Winnie) during the summer months on the Black River. The remainder of the year they opt for the warmer weather and share a 2nd home in Central Florida. They enjoy traveling and spending time with family… 4 adult children, 13 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren.
Judy never dabbled in the arts as a youth, opting for outdoor activities and table games with her siblings. It wasn’t until her son needed a drawing for a school project that she discovered a hidden talent. The project was an autobiography and her son was in the 4th grade. Each student was assigned to create his/her own cover page depicting the theme… “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.” His idea was to illustrate a bi-plane, an airplane and a rocket. Together they researched the encyclopedia (there was no internet then) for images. That was Judy’s first experience at drawing as she copied the images onto paper for her son’s coversheet. His teacher was so impressed, he mimeographed (home copiers were a thing of the future and not available to most at this time) copies and distributed them for general class usage.
Judy began woodburning when her son was given a woodburner for his 10th birthday. Fearful he would burn down the house, his woodburner was traded for an alternate item of his choosing and with less potential hazard. Judy kept the woodburner for herself. As it happened, there was a stereo shop just down the road from where they lived. They had stacks of round, wooden discs outside, remnants of the “woofers and tweeters” used in production of stereos at that time. With owner permission, she took the discs and began teaching herself to use the woodburning tool.
It wasn’t long before Judy found herself sketching some woodsy scenes with rabbits and other critters. That was it! Judy was hooked on the woodburner and her newly discovered talent with art. Painting came later as she began adding color to the woodburned artwork. And that was over 30 years ago!
Since that time, Judy has become more creative and while woodburning is still her favorite art form, she has learned and become proficient in other art mediums… and has been teaching pastels, watercolors, acrylics for more than 10 years in Central Florida.