Hi, I’m Judy Salleh and I’m originally from Solihull in the UK but spent half my life in Oxford before moving permanently to Sydney, Australia in 2002 (visit my website here and follow me on Instagram and Facebook!)
I call myself a “sketchaholic” and sketch on a daily basis, often late into the night happily painting until I suddenly realise “Holy Moly! It’s 1.30am, better get some sleep”. For the past 2½ years I have been fortunate enough to work teaching sketching in Sydney and it’s a joy, I simply love it. My husband tells me that our house looks more like an art shop than a home as I scatter my paints, pens and paper around with wild abandon.
Throughout my life my love for art has been a true passion and began as a child when I drove my mother insane doodling on everything. “Stop drawing on everything” she wailed, but her words fell on deaf ears. By the time I was in my teens she described me as “bohemian” when I covered my walls with hideous murals!
I have had a fun and creative life so far – I’ve travelled the world, and had some amazing adventures. I studied a languages degree and have lived in Malaysia, Spain and the UK, always sketching.
I’ve worked in a wide array of jobs including Taxi Driver, Real Estate Agent, and Ski Instructor to name a few. I worked in Thredbo Ski Resort (yes we have ski resorts in Australia!) for numerous ski seasons where I won the annual “Body Painting Competition” for 4 consecutive years. That was fun, painting on human bodies!
On one trip I met my husband who was my batik teacher in Malaysia. I fell in love designing a sarong! I dragged him back to England and we set up a T-Shirt design and screen-printing company in Oxford and I was able to immerse myself in being creative – I began painting and exhibiting in earnest, mainly using watercolour and chalk pastels and designed Greeting Cards and Children’s Illustrations before getting itchy feet again and moving the whole family to Sydney, Australia.
I’ve been in Australia for 14 years now and during the past three years, I have been able once more to spend my life immersed in art. Teaching sketching has filled my heart with joy. I am comfortable sketching just about anything, be it buildings, landscapes, objects or people and find all of them fun. I will normally sketch straight with ink and then add colour afterwards, normally watercolour.
I had to give up my handbags because of my sketching addiction and bought a gorgeous leather rucksack so I can always have my watercolours and sketchbooks with me. My usual sketching kit contains a white Uniball gel pen, a Pentel brushpen, a Pilot Parallel Pen for calligraphy & various fountain pens. I have a selection of Lamy and Pilot pens & a Noodlers Ahab Pen which has a flexible nib. This creates beautiful different width lines. For years I used Winsor & Newton and Schmincke watercolours but last year purchased a set of 100 (Daniel Smith Watercolours from the USA gulp!) and am in love with them. Oh well, “You can never have too many art supplies!”, that’s my motto.
I paint mainly with Rosemary and Co dagger brushes from the UK and Escoda travel brushes, and prefer white paper for sketching as I like my watercolours to stay vibrant and particularly like Stillman and Birn Sketchbooks with white paper such as the Alpha, Beta and Zeta.
I particularly love watercolour and the colour turquoise and enjoy sketching on location. I feel that the fastest sketches often turn out the best such as when I do a demonstration for my students. There is a looseness and freedom to them.
If I were to offer any advice to anyone interested in sketching it would be to just have a go. Who cares if your sketch is wobbly or wonky – it all adds to the character. In fact the faster loose wobbly sketches turn out to be the most dynamic. Find other groups of sketchers and don’t be afraid to join – I frequently sketch with a few different groups in Sydney, and it’s fun to make new friends and travel to different places.
Last year, I went to the Urban Sketching Symposium in Singapore – pure heaven surrounded by hundreds of fellow sketchers and I am off to the Urban sketching Symposium in Manchester and Sketchiton in Paris this July to do more Urban Sketching courses. I love taking classes with other teachers – you can never stop learning. I’m so happy right now doing what I love!