Judy Sjerven came up to Skagit Valley from San Diego in the summer of 2006 to take a plein air workshop by master pastelist/teacher Richard McKinley. The beauty of the area was so inspiring, that six weeks later she was settled into a little house and studio in Shelter Bay, La Conner, WA. Seven years later, in 2013, Judy met and started performing with jazz pianist, Nick Nicholai. With Nick's keyboards backing Judy's vocals, they became the “Just In Time Jazz Duo.” Several months later Judy and Nick were married and she moved to Oak Harbor to be with him.
Even though her formal training is in music education, Judy has always been an artist. As a very young child, she remembers eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Saturday Evening Post in the mail each week so she could recreate the cover art of Norman Rockwell. She always wanted the Crayolas with 64 colors in the box! Colored pencil sets had to include heliotrope!
As an elementary school music teacher, she often combined art with classroom listening lessons and connected art history with music history.
She has taken classes and workshops in many mediums since her college days, but only in the last decade did Judy discover the joy of working with pastels. Two of her main inspirations have been master pastelists Albert Handell, whose workshop she took in Monterey, and Terri Ford, who she also had the pleasure of taking workshops with in both Paris and Skagit Valley.
In landscapes and seascapes, Judy strives to interpret the beauty of nature and evoke a feeling of peace and appreciation for God's creation in the viewer. Though skies, water, trees and flowers are her usual subjects, Judy loves to do commissioned pet portraits, too.