Judy Haigh was born to Virginia and Don Johnson in Colorado Springs on August 5, 1958. Judy was their first child, of three, and led the pack as the loving older sister. She was passionate about riding horses and playing outside. Judy had an affinity for taking care of others and decided to pursue a career in nursing. She dutifully served in several areas of the field, including nursing homes, doctor's offices, labor and delivery rooms. Continuing to climb the ranks, Judy was placed in charge of staffing at Parker Adventist Hospital in Parker, Colorado, where she has lived for the last 30 years.
A loving wife to Michael Haigh for 35 years and a great mom to Bailey and Jack, her daughter and son, Judy's life was forever altered in 2007. She suffered a stroke that required 3 brain surgeries, 33 days in the ICU, and an incredibly difficult rehab. The rehab wasn't merely physical; Judy had to learn how to talk and communicate all over again, with part of her brain permanently damaged. Many would choose to settle in life after such a tragedy, but Judy showed tenacity by not giving up, which eventually led her to a new passion. During her rehab, Judy attended the University of Colorado Speech Therapy program. This program allowed for all patients to choose an elective that appealed to them, and she selected art. It was there that the therapist challenged Judy to paint what a stroke looked like to her, and her first piece was born.
She began working with Donna Mares, a fellow artist, which lead to her meeting Tadashi Hayakawa, and abstract artist, who took Judy under his wing. Judy began taking classes with Tadashi to improve herself, continuing the theme of battling against her setback. While Judy's first pieces of artwork were more representational, her abilities grew, and her focus shifted, to her current emphasis; abstracts. This started partly from Tadashi's encouragement, but mostly from Judy's imagination and creative ability. The aphasia from the stroke challenges Judy in many ways, including speaking, reading and writing. But a canvas is where she can show her true heart.
Her resolve is seen not just by her commitment to her work and her family, but also to her faith. Judy has been heavily involved in Parker Bible Church, for over 20+ years, and she can be seen in the 4th row from the front of the left side of the auditorium every Sunday morning. Aphasia makes life difficult, but Judy's faith in Jesus gives her the strength to have a cheerful heart despite her challenges.
Her favorite verse is Matthew 11:28-30 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Throughout the process of creating a painting, changes are made, and sometimes the final product is different that what was expected. Since the stroke, Judy has changed a great deal, not just as a person, but as an artist. She has honed her passion into something that everyone can enjoy, and just like a canvas, has undergone a transformation. She has changed from being right handed to left handed, from someone who enjoys the outdoors to someone who can't wait to go to her art room upstairs in her home. With the support of her husband and many friends, Judy Haigh has herself become a work of art, resolutely fighting to become a better artist each day while making the work around her a bit more beautiful.