Judy Seidel: Click Here for an Eyeful of Her Life-Affirming Paintings

"Diptych," by Berkeley, CA, Painter, Judy Seidel is two jig-sawed pieces of wook painted abstractly with red, green and yellow shapes. Photo by BF Newhall

“Reconfigurations #4,” by Judy Seidel. Diptych, 27″ x 21,” each side. Mixed media on joined canvasses. Photo by BF Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

Some artists seem to be able transfer the way their minds — souls? — work onto paper or canvas. And of those artists, every once in a while, it’s a mind that you’d like to spend more time with.

"Reconfigurations #3" is a painting in primary colors on three joined canvasses by Judy Seidel of Berkeley, CA. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Seidel’s “Reconfigurations #3″ is a mixed media painting on three separated canvasses joined so that they become one piece. 27″ x 21.” Photo courtesy of the artist.

That’s probably why I stayed so long in the studio of  Berkeley painter Judy Seidel recently during the last moments of the last day of the 2014 East Bay Open Studios. I couldn’t get myself to leave those wonderful, life-affirming paintings of hers. Seidel didn’t seem to mind that I was keeping her past her 6 p.m. closing time. She even cheerfully posed for a picture.

A few days later, after poring over the photos I took at her studio, I phoned to ask Seidel what animated her work.

“My life is a lot about healing and transformation — physical, emotional and spiritual,” she says. “You kind of have to fall apart — and let that happen — then come together and reorganize. Breaking apart and coming back together again. Death and rebirth.”

It’s a theme that Seidel has revisited in her paintings over time. It’s not obvious in her work, and she likes it that way. But when you walk into her studio, it’s palpable.

More stories you might like at “Amazing Places — A Walk Around Oakland’s Jingletown,”   “Nature. We Love It — But Does It Give a Darn About Us?”  and  “Actor Robert Morse: Sweaty at 36, Sublime at 83.”

Berkeley painter Judy Seidel in a gallery of her colorful abstract paintings. Photo by BF Newhall

Judy Seidel in studio filled with her color-rich abstract paintings. Photo by BF Newhall

An abstract painting by Berkeley, CA, artist Judy Seidel has square yellow center with red stripes. Photo by BF Newhall

Paintings by Judy Seidel: “Lining Up #1,” 10″ x 10,” mixed media . . .

An abstract painting by Berkeley painter Judy Seidel is red, blue and yellow with red buttons. Photo by BF Newhall

. . . “C-ing #14,” 10″ x 10,” mixed media on canvas . . .

An abstract painting by Berkeley, CA, painter Judy Seidel is half blue and half orange. Photo by BF Newhall

. . and “Duality #12,” 8″ x 10,” mixed media on canvas. Photos by BF Newhall

"Working It Out #4," a whimsical painting by Judy Seidel with blue streak and a red square with buttons. Photo by BF Newhall

“Working It Out #4,” 2012, by Judy Seidel. 10 x 10, mixed media on canvas. Photo by BF Newhall



  1. George Alvarez-Bouse—Jache says:

    I’m indefinite about the particularities of Seidel’s explanation of what ‘animates’ her work. What kind of breaking down is she speaking of and what are its causes as expressed in her paintings. And when Newhall says that it’s ‘not obvious in her work’, why is it more palpable when one walks into her studio. For I see in the work here buttons and pairs of circles; the ones bearing on fastening things together and the other possibly symbolizing but definitely suggesting infinity, i.e. including all. Thanks for this effort I will think more about the experience and study the paintings further.


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