Woods has not always painted abstract works, but her earlier, more realistic works still began with a layer of more expressionistic painting in order to give the finished work a greater sense of texture and depth.
“I enjoyed how it felt to paint in this way and loved some of the effects, even though only some of this would show through in the finished work.”
A fan of Rauschenberg and Diebenkorn, the allure to experimenting with abstraction was strong, and when Woods’ father passed away in 2016, the time felt right to begin working in a more intuitive style. “My father’s death brought me sharply eye-to-eye with the brevity of life and so I threw myself wholeheartedly into my painting.” “For a year, I explored painting intuitively; just responding to what showed up on the canvas as I played with materials and ideas. I found this incredibly difficult but also exhilarating as marks, surface effects, and combinations of materials would surprise and result in work that referenced unplanned ideas and thoughts. I became more and more enchanted with the accidental mark.”
“My work is becoming looser and I’m incorporating collage underneath many layers of paint to create lumps and bumps and a history in the work. I dig into the wood and sand back through layers to reveal all sorts of hidden surprises.”
Like many others, Woods was quick to discover that painting in a truly intuitive way was not as simple as one might first imagine.
Painting with no idea of the outcome, but by just playing with materials and seeing what resonates is very different and initially extremely difficult.”
Adding another layer of meaning to Woods’ work, she has recently begun to incorporate motifs and messages from a collection of over 200 of her parents’ letters to each other.
“We found the letters in the back of my father's wardrobe the night before his funeral. My mother didn't know that he had kept them and she spent the first months after his death reading them over again.”
“Recently my mother died and I am discovering their love story through the letters. To have access to the very beginnings of their partnership, which lasted 58 years, is incredibly precious. Initially I used the words “darling mine” in my paintings, and I want to photocopy their handwriting to somehow include in my work. I use collage in my paintings so this would easily work.”
You can see more of Judy’s work on Instagram, where she shares both finished work and insights into her painting process.
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