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Thursday, July 25, 2019

A few more creations of late


"Patience" below, is from another of my portrait classes for the Fall 2018 semester at the Vero Beach Museum of Art.  I teach there three semesters per year, in addition to a 3-day oil & acrylics Portrait Workshop from a live model during each semester.

"Prudence" (I am guessing a Puritan Woman) was inspired and painted from a painting I purchased at the St. Sebastian Church's Saturday Flea Market a few years ago.  It was a full-body, life-sized oil painting in really rough shape, that obviously was destined to be thrown in the trash heap had I not come along last minute just before closing. I purchased this lovely painting, frame and all, for  $5 or $10.  No signature or any indication on it to identify the artist.  Since the clothing from below the collar on down was rendered poorly, I held my breath and cut it off.  I then glued it onto a masonite board and framed it with a beautiful hand-carved ornate frame also purchased at the same time, also for $5. The frame was also in rough shape, and even had holes drilled in it on several areas.  With some filler and good gilding, sanding and painting, the frame was perfect for this painting.  It now sits in an easel on display on high kitchen shelving along with other items and paintings of interest I have collected over the years.  And so I recreated this painting, inspired by that which I purchased, only made her a bit more pretty, as seen below.  Below the painting is a sample of the step-by-step handout I give to my Museum students.  Lots of work for me, but makes it so much easier for students to understand or jump ahead.
"Prudence" Acrylic on canvas by Judy Burgarella

Class instruction hand-outs for my students


Below is an oil portrait I started in October 2018 from a live model, friend and student Kate Russum, and finished six months later.  It was my first demo at a new location, Indian River Estates in Vero Beach, where I continue to teach.  This painting haunted me after I started it, as I promised it to Kate as a thank-you gift for posing for me that first day.  It was a very rough start, as all portraits of mine tend to be.  But I finished it and believed it was one of my best yet.  I actually feel that way about all my portraits, as the way of the life of an artist is that one gets better with each painting.  And so it always gets better, if one takes the extra time to make it that way.  However I am usually on the clock and on the run, trying to finish and document steps in a painting for a class, so those paintings are not usually my finest work.

"Kate" oil painting by Judy Burgarella


Below is a finished painting, a copy of a work by Claude Monet, one of the impressionists (1840-1926).  I painted this in acrylics to get the feel of how he painted, in preparation for my demo/class at Indian River Estates.  This was a 2-week demo, wrought with the usual mistakes which I gladly announce and exhibit to my students so that they can learn how an artist corrects his/her mistakes and moves on. Mistakes often result in the creation of a great new technique, a so-called "Happy Mistake," and it happened several times in this oil painting. demo.  I hope to post this painting when it's finished.  But below is my acrylic rendition of Monet's oil painting.
"Monet's Willow tree and Lily Pond" acrylic by Judy Burgarella
I have many more I would love to post, but alas, they are on the self in my studio unfinished with the hundreds of other paintings needing my attention.   I need about 40 more years and maybe I'll finish them all ... but then what?

I hope you enjoyed my postings!

Judy Burgarella

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Orca Mural - Finally Finished!

ORCA Mural, "Florida Uplands" Acrylic on Canvas by Judy Burgarella

So happy to be a part of this project, and we completed it very quickly, about a month--with some finishing even before that.  So I delivered mine, which was the latest, on Tuesday, July 3rd.  I touched mine up on the outside perimeter with the paint they all used, repainted the gold band, and Dawn and I installed the hanging hardware and hung them all in the classroom of the Artists Guild Gallery in Vero Beach.

The Vero Beach Art Club provided the artists, who donated their time to this project: me, Dawn Mill (project manager), Carol Makris, Sue Dinenno, Judy Rixom and Rita Ziegler.  Dawn chose the round design and provided each artist with a rough idea, and we all created our own design based on the basic specifications, researching our individual habitat assignments ourselves and choosing the plants and animals to include.  There are six murals, all mounted with stretched canvas over a wood frame, with circular pattern outlined in gold paint.  All are painted in acrylic. As soon as I get photos of the others, I will post them here.

ORCA "Oceanic Research and Conservation Association" happened to see the Vero Beach History/Habitat Murals (, at the Community Center on 14th Avenue, and felt they needed something like that for their organization, perhaps to use as an educational tool and in demonstrations.  And so they contacted the Vero Beach Art Club, and the rest is history.

A "Soft Opening" will be held Friday July 5th, 5:00-8:00 pm at the Artists Guild Gallery, 1974 14th Avenue, Vero Beach, with wine and hors doeuvres, and a grand opening will be held at the ORCA facility at VB Airport some time in the fall.

We are very proud to play a small part in prooting ORCA's environmental mission, and look forward to the public enjoying the fruits of our labor.


There are many more paintings I have created since my last posting, and hopefully I will have time soon to post them here.

Judy Burgarella

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Lots of Updates

Where to start ...
Since my last posting I have created many new paintings, much the results of demonstrations and classes, many if finished I will upload eventually.
At present, my class schedule is as follows: Vero Beach Museum of Art, 5-week course each semester in Portraiture in Acrylics, with a two full days workshop in oil portraiture March 29th and 30th; American Legion: first and third Thursday of each month, 10-1:00, all mediums and subjects, and includes a 45-minute demo; Indian River Estates, Vero Beach: 2nd and 3rd Friday each month.

Following is an oil portrait of a famous local historical figure, Waldo Sexton, which I painted for the Emerson Center's Foyer Gallery show, celebrating Vero Beach's Centennial.  This image was also sent to the National Portrait Society's show, of which I am a member.  Scant chance anything will come of it as the competition is phenomenal.

Waldo Sexton, oil by Judy Burgarella

Below is an acrylic portrait of Mr. Konopacky, my neighbor's father who just passed away at age 100!  This portrait was done for his memorial service, and was met with rave reviews.  He always talked with that finger pointing at you.  He was pretty sharp up to the end.  This is another one I have entered in the National Portrait Society show.

Mr. Konopacky at 100, acrylic by Judy Burgarella
A fun commission, below, is an oil painting of Max and Furnando. Now that I have finally adopted a dog myself (after being without a pet for 20 years), I fully appreciate that people love their pets enough to have a portrait painted of them.  Love my dog Piper, who is probably the smartest and cutest dog in the world. (Prejudiced? No.)

Furnando & Max, oil by Judy Burgarella
Next is a painting I'm excited about.  Started out as a "by-the-seat-of-my-pants" demo and I tweaked it a bit when I got home.  I plan on painting a similar composition on a larger and better canvas, and enter it in a show.  Such fun it was, in a wipe-out format. I will paint some ibis on a log by the palm tree, and add water ripples and refine the foliage.
Orchids and Egrets, 12"x16", oil by Judy Burgarella (unfinished)
 This little girl's image was taken from a section of a painting in the Museum.  The Vero Beach Museum of Art likes their faculty to tie in something from their exhibition, and so I used her image to teach an acrylic portraiture class.

"Girl with Lace Collar" 16"x12, acrylic by Judy Burgarella

The beautiful girl below is a copy of a painting done by one of the "Victorian Radicals" whose work is currently on exhibition at the Vero Beach Museum.  This is not part of their exhibit, but was painted by John Everett Malaise, and I used it to teach my portrait class this winter's semester  (2019).  Complicated but fun, and my students did fabulous work!  Note: This piece sold from the Museum's Faculty Show, along with another work of mine, "The Artist" also in that show.

"The Mandolin Player" from John Everett Malaise, 11"x16", acrylic.  
 This stern-looking woman is a Seminole Indian, the black-and-white image of which I used to teach my acrylic portraiture class at the Museum.
"Seminole Girl" 16"x12, acrylic
 "Misty Morning" was an acrylic demonstration I did at Indian River Estates in Vero.  This one is worthy of putting on a better canvas, and repainting it in a finer style.
"Misty Morning" 16"x11" Acrylic by Judy Burgarella
 Below is another "Misty Morning" from another demo, this time at the American Legion.
"Misty Morning" acrylic on 12"x8 canvas

Friday, June 15, 2018

Many changes since my last post


Just finished this for my son-in-law's birthday (which will be given to him on Father's Day this Sunday).  He's such a good cook and so handy with tools, so it's perfect for him, and I had such a good time creating it.  Gathered together tools and utensils and just sketched them on with a small flat brush and acrylic raw umber paint.  No planning, just copied the shapes of what I saw.  The fun was in the coloring.  If you look close you'll see all different shades and temperatures of gray in the silver.  I printed out the lettering on my laser, vine-charcoaled the backs, positioned and taped them to the fabric, and just transferred the basic text shapes onto the apron.  For the text paint I used the liquid craft paints (gloss) in a jar--flows easier when painting fine lines.

(c) 2018 Judy Burgarella

(c) 2018 Judy Burgarella


Since I am now freed from serving as president of the Sebastian River Art Club, I once again have time for these wonderful creative projects, in addition to having more time to spend with family and friends ... and painting!  However I do miss the challenge of leadership, and seeing the fruits of my labor for the betterment of the Club and its members. 

Since my last posting I have completed many more paintings which when time I will post here.  I have so many ideas on how to spend my time now, my bucket list runneth over!  The wonderful thing about being an artist is that you are never bored.  There actually is not enough time in any day to do all the creative things that pop up in your mind.  And anything can set it off: a picture in a magazine, the sunset, a flower, cute cat, something on TV, an interesting face, and especially images on the internet that excite the creative juices.  I am also looking forward to sharing what I know via the internet, so stay tuned!

I hope you enjoy my blog.

Judy Burgarella

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Two Solo Shows! Oy Vey!!

Having trouble with my blogs, and somehow lost over a year's worth!  ...somewhere out there in cyberspace.  Oh well, carrying on ...


For my portrait show, "Portraits of the World ... And Beyond" (postcard and further info follows) I have a couple of new ones:

"Madonna" oil on canvas, with 24K gold leaf halo

This painting was done with only 4 colors, and is painted over another portrait I did as a demo of a wipe-out face.  The wipe-out base gave it the depth and mystery I was looking for.  Gold leafing went surprisingly well, as it is very difficult to work with, and one must not waste 24K gold!  It's in a fabulous frame too, displayed over my Jesus painting which has a crown of thorns hanging on it that I purchased from a Jerusalem supplier.

A Totally Portrait Show for all my friends and students who love portraits!

Worked like crazy putting this one together.  Never showed this many portraits at once, excepting for in my own home during the Sebastian Art Studio Tour.  Carole and Peter Coe, curators of the "Pres Galleries," and members of the First Presbyterian Church in Vero Beach, flawlessly installed the show, allowing me some input as to it's setup.  There was a great turnout and the show looked beautiful.  About 30 paintings in all mediums are on display.  They decided to add a mid-show reception I guess to allow the Snowbirds to view it.  It's up through December.


My mother was a jewel, and a really pretty one with a beautiful wad of red hair.  I guess this was about 1942, before I was born.  It was painted from a black-and-white photograph.

"Millie, 1942" oil on canvas by Judy Burgarella

Tonight at 9:00 pm I finally got around to entering something in the Portrait Society of America, which I am a member of.  Decided to enter my mom.  It would be such an honor if they accepted my entry.  First time entering a national competition.


Just delivered this show today.  Over 40 paintings of Florida-inspired works.  What a job putting all this together, repairing the frames, reframing where needed, cleaning and rematting.  I have too many paintings, so they're priced to go, to make room for more. Looking forward to the opening to see how the public receives them.  I revised a portrait I did of Osceola in 2014 which I have shown around here but it never received much attention.  So I took it apart (not an easy job with pastels) and redesigned the face, clothes, position, and values, contrast and background.  Basically it's all redone.  I am very happy with it now, and I am a better artist than I was in 2014.  That's what's amazing about this art thing, everyone gets better with each painting.  I teach so I see it happen right before my eyes to my students.  Below is Osceola, I love it now.

"Osceola" Pastel by Judy Burgarella


Monday I had my first of five classes for the semester in the Vero Beach Museum of Art, and below is my subject lesson.  I brought her back from the 4th Century B.C.  Found her sculptured image in an old sculpture book I got at a thrift shop.  I opened the book and fell in love with her face.  So regal, strong, intelligent-looking and beautiful.  And that headdress!  Wow!  I later found out that the bust, which is hollow and presumed to have been used as a funerary urn, is in a museum in Madrid.

"Lady of Elche" Acrylic on Canvas by Judy Burgarella
Well, that's all for tonight ... I hope you enjoyed my images.

Judy Burgarella

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

MIA Too long!

Where to start?  Just remembering why I hadn't posted in some time ... husband's multiple hospitalizations, my hospitalization, also my eye surgery which greatly impacted my eyesight, and lots of other of "life's interruptions."  Oh, and I am now serving as President of the Sebastian River Art Club which keeps me incredibly busy as I work to improve upon what past presidents and members have created.

 So now I'll post a few things, what I remember I've done since then, starting with most recent.

Below is a show I just installed Thursday.  All portraits, and several of the following portraits are in that show.  One down, one to go.  Have to get ready for the Emerson Center show to be installed November 1st, entitled "Florida - Paradise through the Eyes of an Artist"

"Madonna" Oil w/24K Gold Leafing  11"x14" w/5" ornate gold frame
 This one came so easy, and the gold leafing went surprisingly smoothly.  This one got me in the zone right away.  Divine intervention??

"Mildred" Oil
 This is my mother circa 1942?  Lovely rendition of her with all that hair.  We all (5 kids, mom & dad) had various shades of red hair, which came with freckles.  Wish I could have known her at that age.

"Girl in Victorian Dress" Acrylic, Adaptation of Da Vinci.
 Created for my portrait class in the Vero Beach Museum of Art.

"Girl with a Pearl Earring" Acrylic, Adaptation of Vermeer's
 Created for my portrait class in the Vero Beach Museum of Art.

"Monet"  Acrylic
 Created for my portrait class in the Vero Beach Museum of Art

"Wash Day" Wine Bar with Glasses, Acrylic

Antique ironing board, fun to do, and I made 6 glasses to match that had clotheslines painted on them.   It is supposed to serve as a wine bar.

"Red Sculpture at the Museum"  Acrylic

Created at the request of the Vero Beach Museum of Art for a special Faculty showing.

"Two White Pelicans" Acrylic. Available on metal or as print.
 Acrylic painting from a very lucky photo I took in Sebastian on a dock at the Indian River Lagoon.

"Sand Hill Crane"  Acrylic
 Created as an Art Party subject.

"Red Rose in Triangle Substrate" Acrylic
 Created for a special Faculty showing for the Vero Beach Museum of Art.  The Lily below too.

"Lily"  Acrylic

Pewter Ornament "Millenial Salute to our Protective Services"
Just threw this one in.  Created before I started to paint.  Part of a series of pewter ornaments I designed to be sold each Christmas as a fundraiser for the Chamber of Commerce Scholarship Committee, of which I was a member with my home business Document Magic Secretarial Service.

"David Leffel on my Palette" Oil on wood palette
 One of my favorite portraitists, and also a fantastic still life painter,.  He's a bit older now, but I liked this portrait of him I copied from his many self-portraits.

"After the bath" Oil 
 This is a nice little nude I wanted for myself, saw it in a magazine and painted it.  That's the wonderful part of being a representational artist, you can have it for yourself, almost as good if you're good enough. 

"Windy Day at the Marina" Oil
 Painted "en plein air" at the Vero Beach Yacht Club for the Cultural Council.

"At Rest"  Oil
Painted "en plein air" at the Vero Beach Yacht Club for the Cultural Council.

Well, that's all for now folks, getting late and it's been a long day.  I hope I did not repeat myself with any of these postings--did not check earlier ones.  Oh, and here's a little song I wrote for all you artists out there--sing it to the tune of "My Favorite Things":

Brush, paint and canvas, the odor of oil,
Scumbling and glazing as we artists toil
Painting on canvas a great work of art,
All of this beauty must come from the heart.

They'll be pretty, they'll be stunning, and surprising too;
When artists are working they get in the zone,
Their favorite thing, to do.

Portraits and landscapes and seascapes and abstract,
Sales and commissions and gallery contracts.
These are the things that an artist must do,
else he will starve and his family too!

He must paint, and, he must learn, and, he must suffer too;
He'd better be ready to get his hard knocks
And come up with something new.

Paint on his fingernails, paint on his clothes,
Paint on his loafers and paint on his nose,
Art books and ribbons and easels and lights,
painting most days and then into most nights.

There'll be art shows, and receptions, competitions too;
So painters must paint and create something nice,
or if they can't they'll be through.

I envision singing this song around a table with a glass of wine with a bunch of artist friends.  Just may do it at "Girls Night Out" tomorrow night at the Tiki Bar.
I also wrote a Halloween song to this tune years ago when my kids were little. They are in the 40's now, so I've been a frustrated songwriter for a long time.

It's really really late now. G'nite!

Judy Burgarella

Sunday, September 18, 2016


"Rusty" Acrylic (c)2016 by Judy Burgarella
 Just finished "Rusty," tonight.  Client sent me several photos of him and I could tell he is a wonderful family dog.  So that helps build my inspiration to paint him, especially since I haven't even met him in person.  I'm happy with the way it came out, although as of a couple of hours ago he still looked pretty rough.

When uploading Rusty from my computer, I noticed there were several recent paintings that I hadn't posted, and below is one of my mother, from a black-and-white photo that was taken before I was born.  Wasn't she beautiful with all that red hair?  Mom, Dad, and all 5 of us kids all had red hair.  What a sight when we were all together.  Unfortunately we never even got a photo of us all together, and sadly there's only two of us left.  I have hopes to have the time to do individual portraits of everyone at this same age of life.  How interesting that would be.

"Millie" oil painting (c)2016 by Judy Burgarella
 Painting deceased relatives is almost impossible for me as it is too emotional.  So I thought that since I was to paint a portrait of my mom from a photo taken before I was born, and her looking nothing like I  remembered her, that I would not get emotional.  Well, that was wrong.  Curiously, I felt a certain sadness to never have known this young beautiful woman, who was probably fun to be with, and interesting to talk to in her youth.  Millie, as an older woman, was a good conversationalist, she was funny, and she was a really good and decent person--who did not boast about it.  At her wake, friends and strangers told of her good deeds and her kindness, and brought us stories of her that I treasure.  This painting, and about 60 other portrait paintings are currently on display at the Indian River County Courthouse in Vero Beach, coming down on October 4th, 2016.UPDATE: Date the show comes down has been changed to October 13th!

Of note:  Hands ... I hate to paint them.  Everyone I know hates to paint them.  These took me forever, and I repainted, reshaped, recolored, etc. and was so glad when they were done.  Very proud I am of these lovely hands which rocked me to sleep and wiped the tears from my eyes.  I just had to get them right.  Aren't they lovely and interesting?

Detail from "St. Sebastian River" Acrylic Mural (c)2016 by Judy Burgarella
This mural, painted for a client in Micco, is 15' x 4-1/2' and is a fabulous depiction of the flora and fauna that is found along the St. Sebastian River.  Just happens that right around the day I was to paint these beautiful spoonbills I saw a small flock of them at a pond near my home and had my camera ready when they flew away, so got some great shots to use in the mural.   To see more of this mural visit my mural progress blog at

"Sandhill Crane"  Acrylic (c)2016 by Judy Burgarella 

This simple 11"x14" painting was a demo at the Sebastian River Art Club.  Several of my students painted it too, and they all came out great!  I have more work to do on it.  I happened to see a wonderful background on another painting in a magazine that has inspired me to make a similar background of nice grasses.

"Zebra" Watercolor (c)2016 by Judy Burgarella
 Another unfinished painting, which I did quickly to see if I could demo it.  This was much easier than I thought, and I had always admired other artist's rendition of zebras whenever I came across them at fairs or galleries.  So I did a much bigger one as my demo the next day, but that one is not as far along, but it's so beautiful that I have already picked out a frame for it.  

"Flower Vase by a Window" Watercolor by Judy Burgarella
 This lovely little watercolor was created in a class that I took from Bob Virelli in Hobby Lobby in Palm Bay, Florida.  He's a wonderful and entertaining teacher and has a nice healthy following.  However, we all painted the same thing, and also since it is in a classroom I cannot do anything with it, but either give it away or donate it.  It is not my copyright either.  But it was fun to paint and these exercises keep me from getting rusty with watercolor.

"David Leffel, Master Artist" Oil on Palette (c)2016 by Judy Burgarella
 David Leffel is an artist I have admired and emulated for years.  A teacher at the Art Students League in New York for years, he now resides in New Mexico where he continues doing what he did in New York.  Another of my dreams is to paint all the artists that I admire on a palette like this.  These are really fun to do, as you have the paint right there and only have to drag it over to paint the subject.  This painting can also be seen at the Indian River Courthouse along with about 60 others through October 4th, 2016.

"Robin" Oil on Stretched Canvas (c)by Judy Burgarella
"Robin" is my daughter, who moved near us here in Florida in 2013 with her husband and 1-year-old daughter, Salem, whom I am crazy about.  This painting is not finished and I don't know when in the heck I'll ever get to it, but I must sometime in this life.  Robin posed for pictures which I painted from, but I only needed to get it looking "OK," not great, as it would only be seen from afar.  She was supposed to sit for me while I painted her portrait in front of an audience at the Vero Beach Musem of Art, for only about 1-1/2 hours worth.  Unfortunately the night of the event Salem was running a high fever and she could not come.  I had planned to paint rough in the portrait which would surely be at a very ugly stage, and then at the end I would unveil the "finished" portrait so that they could see how beautiful it would eventually become.  Best laid plans as they say.  So I asked my buddy Rita Ziegler to sit instead and it was still good.  She's sitting in my studio now in such an ugly stage though, I'd better pretty her up some day for Rita so she won't be mad.

This painting can also be seen at the Indian River Courthouse along with about 60 others through October 4th, 2016.

"At Rest in the Cove" Acrylic (c)2016 by Judy Burgarella
This little beauty was painted at the Vero Beach Yacht Club, and was part of a show that night for their members.  The sales have always been great, but this time nobody was buying.  Bummer.  but at least I had a great day painting outdoors with friends.  What could be better?  ... I know what could be better ....  to sell the darned thing!!

This, and many other of my paintings, are being used to stage houses for Robin, who sells real estate for the Dale Sorensen Company in Vero Beach.  It really helps to beautify residences, especially if the owner does not have a flair for decorating.  We spiff the homes up with my art, curtains, silk flowers and plants, baskets, bedspreads, rugs, pottery, etc.  The owners can't believe the transformation.  And, although they don't get much viewing, I am happy that my paintings are out of the house and have a purpose, even if it is only temporary.

"Sailboat at Rest" Acrylic (c)2016 by Judy Burgarella
Another little sailboat painting done the same day, so I won't repeat myself.

"Coconut Palm" Acrylic (c)2016 by Judy Burgarella
This quick little painting was a demo at the Sebastian River Art Club.  Quick and easy, with big brushes.  Typical tropical painting that everybody likes.

"Path to the Beach" Oil (c)2015 by Judy Burgarella
I painted this one twice, a little different the second time, but they are both sold.  It's a lovely painting with an interesting format, the size of which will fit nicely on a tall, narrow wall.  It looked lovely in my house for a short while before it sold.  I must paint another one for myself, as I am redecorating my bedroom to be "beachy."

"Lilypads and Waterlilies" Acrylic (c)2015 by Judy Burgarella
This lovely little painting was a palette knife demo at the Sebastian River Art Club.  Most of my students wanted to try it and some found it a bit difficult handling a palette knife.  The knife needs to be just the right size for the canvas, and it can be tricky--but fast!

"Sculpture at the Vero Beach Museum of Art"
As a member of the Faculty at the Vero Beach Museum of Art (I teach acrylic portraiture), I was asked to paint this picture, along with other faculty members, in a style all my own.  So here is the boring painting, looking just like the photo.  I just couldn't come up with anything different.  Others did, and theirs were more interesting I thought.  They displayed all their teachers' work on a big wall for all to see.  So now I'm stuck with it.  Anybody want it?

Well, the time has flown and I've blown the evening posting this blog.  I hope someone sees it.  But blogging is cathartic, and I myself like to read some of the old stuff I've posted, especially if the painting is already gone.  So it's almost midnight and time to call it a day, and a nice day it always is when I've finished a painting.  An artist's life is the best.  Now what shall I do next???

Hope you enjoy checking out my blog, and maybe get inspired to paint!

Judy Burgarella