Artist In Focus

Judy Lalingo

Nature as Teacher

Judy was born a horse-nut. Horses have always been her north star, her guiding spirit, her absolute passion. She credits the horse for turning her into an artist; born in Toronto Canada and growing up in the suburbs offered little opportunity for real-life horse encounters, so this little artist turned to books… specifically, illustrated books filled with horses. It was only natural that she started to draw them constantly. And she drew them everywhere.

Acrylic on panel, 3,5“ x 2,5“ / 9 x 6,5 cm

Acrylic on panel, 3,5“ x 2,5“ / 9 x 6,5 cm

After high school she studied at The New School of Art – a UNESCO project in downtown Toronto run by professional fine artists – where students devised their own class schedules choosing from courses taught by working painters and sculptors. Daily drawing from the model was strongly encouraged, as was the study of colour, design, anatomy, drawing, painting, art history and philosophy.

Vespers, Acrylic on panel, 3“ x 5“ / 7,5 x 10 cm

It was during an anatomy class that the artist experienced one of her most insightful moments. Knowing horse anatomy so intimately, she suddenly realized that humans – and most animals – have all the same parts, just arranged differently according to function and evolution. It was then that she began to fully appreciate Nature as Teacher.

Island Pony
Acrylic on panel 2,5“ x 3,5“ / 6,5 x 9 cm

Focus on the Quiet
Acrylic on panel 2,5“ x 3,5“ / 6,5 x 9 cm

During the next few years, Judy worked as a crest designer for a large sportswear company in Toronto, becoming proficient in drawing, designing and hand lettering while creating the patterns used to produce chenille and embroidered crests that were applied to sports club jackets. She attended part-time art classes and workshops – including two workshops with Canadian wildlife painter Robert Bateman –and studied art and painting through books and gallery outings while working on freelance illustration assignments, pet portrait commissions and, most importantly, drawing and painting horses and wildlife.

The Porch Queen
Acrylic on panel 2,5“ x 3,5“ / 6,5 x 9 cm

Spring Looker
Acrylic on panel 3“ x 4“ / 7,5 x 10 cm

In Harford Fields, Acrylic on panel 2,5“ x 4“ / 6,5 x 10 cm

Judy was first introduced to miniature art in 1987 through a gallery outing with artist friends. The Del Bello Gallery was holding its annual Toronto International Miniature Art Exhibition where hundreds of tiny drawings, paintings, and etchings filled the maze of white panels that were erected throughout the gallery. The work encompassed all subjects, media, and styles from artists around the globe. The diversity within such a small format was astounding, and she found herself inspired to create her animal paintings in miniature.

Sky Dancer, Acrylic on panel 2“ x 4“ / 5 x 10 cm

For the next decade the artist participated in the Del Bello Gallery’s Annual Toronto International Miniature Art Exhibition, winning several awards including a 1st in Traditional Animals and Landscapes with her acrylic miniature, “Buttercups and Clover”. She continued to paint miniatures, entering them in several miniature art shows hosted by galleries throughout southern Ontario, as well as including miniatures as part of her entries in art festivals and shows.

Buttercups and Clover
Acrylic on panel 3“ x 4“ / 7,5 x 10 cm

New Digs
Acrylic on panel 2,5“ x 3,5“ / 6,5 x 9 cm

Moving to Maryland in 2004 offered many new opportunities, and Judy began submitting her work to local shows, including the Miniature Painters, Sculptors & Gravers Society of Washington D.C. (MPSGS) – the oldest Miniature Art society in North America. She soon discovered that miniature art was alive and well through a network of miniature art exhibitions and associations, as well as online miniature art groups.

Acrylic on panel 2,5“ x 3,5“ / 6,5 x 9 cm

Sweet Air
Acrylic on panel 2,5“ x 3,5“ / 6,5 x 9 cm

The artist’s acrylic miniatures of her beloved horses, birds, and animals have consistently won awards at the various miniature art exhibitions throughout the country and beyond. She was selected as a member of the Miniature Artists of America (MAA) in 2013 and holds memberships in several miniature art organizations including the Miniature Art Society of Florida (MASF). Her painting “Maryland Polo” was the recipient of the Award of Excellence at the World Federation of Miniaturists (WFM) held in South Africa in 2016. She is also a Signature Member of the Society of Animal Artists (SAA).

Maryland Polo
Acrylic on panel 2,5“ x 3,5“ / 6,5 x 9 cm

Acrylic on panel 2,5“ x 3,5“ / 6,5 x 9 cm

Throughout the years, Judy has always enjoyed studying and exploring animals and nature whether it’s in her own backyard or across the country and considers these outdoor experiences vital to her painting. She continues to paint miniatures along with larger works and finds it refreshing to switch from a highly detailed acrylic miniature to a larger, looser painting in oil – this way the work never gets stale and she’s able to satisfy both the desire for tight control and unfettered freedom.

Walking on Sunshine, Acrylic on panel 3“ x 5“ / 7,5 x 12,5 cm

The artist readily embraces the advantages of painting in the miniature format. Although realism takes a considerable amount of time and patience, it is much easier (and more satisfying!) to finish several miniature works in the time it would take to complete a large, highly detailed painting. Besides, miniatures are portable, easy to ship and for collectors, there is always room for one more miniature!

The Kiss, Acrylic on panel 4“ x 2“ / 10 x 5 cm

“I think the appeal of miniature art lies in the intimacy of such a small space; the artist creates an entire world small enough to fit in the palm of your hand.”

© Judy Lalingo 2021

Judy maintains her own website and blog, as well as publishing a seasonal newsletter. If you would like to sign up and follow her work, please see her website: