In January 1998, I returned to painting for the first time in
nearly 40 years. However, art was my passion during those four decades.
I read about art and artists voraciously and frequented every museum
and gallery in any location in which I found myself. My husband
and I have been collecting art since the mid-1980s.
I have worked hard since my return to painting, usually completing
an average of one piece each week while in and out of various painting
classes. Courses at the Worcester Art Museum, in the South of France
and at Castle Hill, Truro Center for the Arts on Cape Cod have provided
me with subject and inspiration. My painting teachers have given
me both open-ended instruction and encouragement. In 2000, I received
the Jacob Knight Emerging Artist award.
I have come to understand that the process of painting is mysterious.
When I begin to paint, it takes about several hours of intense work
before I know if I have a painting. Then the painting takes over.
I listen to it. I know and don't know what I am doing at the same
time. I work in a state of curiosity and wonder where the painting
will take me. I give myself to it and trust the process, the mystery.
I have no fear.
While I find some subjects in the real world of interiors, landscapes,
cityscapes, still lifes or portraits, it is not until I start to
paint that I know if my subject, imagination and skills will merge
and inspire me enough to produce a picture in which some meaning
becomes clear. I am always asking: "But what is this painting
about?" Meaning is finally conveyed to me in the language of
emotions: joy, fear, serenity, or discomfort. So the root of my
passion for painting is its dependence on emotion and whatever emotion
dominates the subject. The search for meaning is the same if I look
at someone else's art or my own.
I am also a poet and notice similarities between the process of
painting and writing poetry. If one were to examine poems from my
first collection, Gestures of Trees (Mellen Poetry Press, 2000),
it would be difficult not to notice the many references to art.
Indeed, some paintings have grown from my poems and poems have come
from my paintings; I am currently working on a manuscript that features
pairs of paintings and poems that have inspired each other, Reciprocity:
New and Selected Poems and Paintings. I have received a 2003 Worcester
Cultural Commission-Massachusetts Cultural Council creative arts
fellowship in support of this project.
My paintings represent a variety of subjects and techniques. Strong
expressive colors, stylized shapes and patterns dominate my work.
Acrylics, oils, oil sticks, oil pastels, pastels and pencils help
me to experiment and to achieve effects that I want. As each painting
emerges, I recognize my influences: Rouault, Redon, Chagall, Picasso,
Matisse, Monet, Degas, Hockney, van Gogh and the painters who influenced
them. For example, I painted an homage to van Gogh, which is based
on his homage to Millet' s "La Nuit Etoilée." Poet
John Ashbery said, "Rather than be pure, accept yourself as
numerous." He was talking about his style of mixing various
language and tones of voice in his poems. I believe that he is also
instructing me in my journey as a painter and poet.
View Judy's work here