Warm Waters: Judith Judy

Judith Judy is a Northern Virginia-based oil painter who composes imaginary landscape scenes using soft forms and light, transporting viewers to memories of places they’ve visited or dreams of places they haven’t. In a review of Judith Judy’s work, Mark Jenkins, art critic for the Washington Post, wrote: “Her warm, radiant landscapes aren’t modeled on particular places. Indeed, they seem designed as portals, visual entrances into the world of light. Soft-textured trees and grass define the foreground and vaporous sky the background, but the action transpires between the two, on the plane where sunlight bleeds into a rich, indistinct glow.”

Judith’s work is displayed all over the world, including the Lithuanian National Museum of Art and numerous galleries in France, Italy, and the U.S.

Far From Home, 24×48, available

What is your biggest inspiration as an artist? 

To quote Chuck Close – “Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself.” I am a process painter, however, artists who have influenced me include George Inness, Turner, Peter Doig to name a few.

What places around the world most influence the landscape scenes you imagine? 

I grew up in Maryland and spent much of my childhood at my grandmother’s cottage on the Chesapeake bay and coastal waters. We currently have a home in the back bay area of coastal Delaware. Wetlands and marshes are part of my DNA.

Misty Morning II, 36×36, available

How do the scenes you create come to be? Do you start with a specific vision or let the process inform your choices?

I usually start a painting with a vague or general idea, but the painting will evolve in its own way. It is a process where I put some paint on the board and then react to it, layer by layer, until I get a satisfying result.

Your style consists of soft lines and muted light; have you ever experimented with other artistic styles such as bold abstractionism? 

I have a secret painter’s life painting figures, mostly faces. These paintings are completely different from my landscapes in style and process. They are a fun exercise and I am fascinated by the subject.

After college, you spent several years in a business career before painting professionally. What inspired you to pursue business after studying art in school? 

The business career was for practical reasons and I was good at it. It was only natural to return to art when circumstances were right.

You have artwork in collections and exhibitions around the world. What is your favorite place you’ve traveled to? 

Italy for the food and art. Spain because we recently traveled there with family… and the food and art.

Blue Sky and Clouds, 12×12, available

If you could get coffee with any artist, alive or dead, who would it be and why? 

Picasso, and not only because he was a creative and fearless genius, but because we actually had a mutual acquaintance. I met Marcel Salinas in 1992. He was already a man in his 80’s. He was a painter, but more importantly, he was a master lithographer. When Picasso decided to have his series of paintings Portraits Imaginaires interpreted in lithography, he personally chose Marcel to do it. Picasso was so impressed with Marcel’s work he insisted that his name be included whenever any of the prints were shown. Marcel was a dear friend. I would visit with him and he would share with me his vast knowledge of art and art history. He was a treasure.

What music or podcasts are you currently listening to? 

When I paint on Fridays I listen to Science Friday on NPR. Sometimes I will turn on a Turner Classic Movie that I have seen before just to listen to. It is just enough to keep me from overthinking the process and just let it happen. Otherwise I am listening to the Beatles, Keith Urban, Jon Batiste, opera, and many others.

With our theme of WARM WATERS, where would you travel right now if you could go anywhere? 

We had a trip planned to Iceland this year. That, of course, has been postponed until next year. I am looking forward to experiencing Iceland’s unique landscape.

Hillside Stream II, 36×36, available

To learn more about Judith and to see what work we have available in the gallery, click here.

–Julia Henegar, gallery intern