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  • Writer's pictureleocharre .

Peggy Judy

Updated: Mar 19, 2020

Came across the work of a fabulous painter. Again had the good fortune that they were willing to converse with me a little bit about the craft. I found Peggy Judy to be needlessly humble and it was a pleasure to discuss art with someone so open about their work and process.

For some of us young and crazy art folk- we see a collection of works like this and we're temped to think we're looking at all the same thing. Like, if someone did all paintings of apples- or mountains- or figures (as I am guilty of).

I actually showed this feed to an artist friend of mine and they said, it's just horses.

So, I'm sorry for you peasants, and I am going to explain to you what are some of the amazing things about this painter. Before we continue I hope you've gone ahead and browsed over her work.

For one, the continuity of the work- the consistency. Is impressive. This artist puts out a *lot* of work, and it all has a certain feel to it. Speaking as an painter- this is incredible.

The next thing that really struck me- was the very careful palette of her work. The pigments seem to be in harmony at all times. Even from work to work- side by side.

Cow painted by Peggy Judy
Peggy Judy can make a simple composition of a cow seem like a precious and intricate scene.

Peggy can I ask, are you a palette mixer vs a canvas mixer? As in, do you mix your color very carefully before you apply it?

Oil painting palette closeup.
Peggy: Mixing my colors carefully? Ah, no.. (This is Judy's actual palette.)

Mixing my colors carefully? Ah, no. I can’t actually I mix on the canvas either. I grab some color on the brush and swish it in another color. Honestly not even an educated guess as to how it turns out. I try to see shapes and work with those. Then play with strong complimentary colors on top of one another. I paint really fast most of the time. The only time I paint slow is...well, pretty much never.

Once I have my drawing down and I am happy with it, I just go for it. I know very quickly if it isn’t going to work and trash it. I admire those that can run up against issues in their painting; and work it out. Must be that patience thing again for me.

Worse by Peggy Judy
Note the witchy shadow on the horse's leg in purple. At first glance those shadows look grey. This is a very mature way for an artist to solve the problem of light while keeping things interesting. Also visible here is her use of segmenting areas, choosing geometric planes on a form to present a magic of curvature without any curves- Rockwell was a proponent of this.

I'm pretty amazed about the way you describe your color mixing and application process. It sounds very intuitive to me, correct me if I'm wrong.

How do you "trash" a piece that is not working, do you wipe it off with a palette knife or a rag and continue?

If I catch a piece starting to fall off the cliff, I will wipe it (probably more vigorously than I need to) with a rag. Sometimes the original drawing lives on to taunt me. Telling me I rushed things and deviated from my original goal. Since I am the boss, I put the painting in a “time out”. You know, since a canvas has feelings. 

In all seriousness, once wiped clean I can see where I went off course. Sometimes I repaint after awhile. Sometimes I realize it was a bad idea from the start.

About your tube paint colors, do you have a few that you stick to? Such as a certain white, browns..

I have a simple palette. Cerulean blue and cobalt blue, magenta. Cadmium yellow, orange and red. Titanium white and naples yellow. Burnt umber, raw umber and sepia. (Sepia and cobalt give wonderful deep darks)

I will put other colors on the palette and don’t touch them, like green. Green is terrifying!

And do you use a lot of brushes? Soft, or hog bristle types?

Rosemary Ivory long handled “flat” brushes. Love them. They are a synthetic (I think) hog hair. They are long lasting and consistent. I tend to paint with brushes that are a bit to big for the job. That way I don’t get too picky.

Judy, I have so many questions. Do you teach painting? You've taken part in many exhibits and shows. As time has passed do you feel your involvement in the art world- that these milestones- have they affected your work's development? Or do you feel your painting prowess has developed apart from all outside exposures?

I love when I have questions. I have started teaching some workshops over the past few years. About two a year. Usually in Tubac, AZ. But this June I am teaching one at my home in Crawford, CO.

For the last 35 years I bred, raised and trained/competed on sport horses. I taught dressage riders on my farm. I love teaching! Or rather sharing. I really dislike it when those that know, keep secrets. Makes me wonder about their character.

(As for the work being affected) Interesting question. Yes, “events” can derail you. Make you second guess yourself and paint to an audience.

I admit I deliver a certain kind of art to certain galleries depending on the clientele. But I think I am staying true to myself. Just swinging a bit between contemporary, and more traditional. I don’t think it changes my way of painting. I already tried doing that. I felt my work wasn’t sophisticated enough. I soon realized, it is kind of just who you are. Can’t really change, but you can evolve and improve.

My personal goal is to stretch and make the work a little more involved. Not really sure how to do it. Just rattling around in my head for now. I like the simplicity but also want to tell a story and create emotion.

I always wanted to be an artist. My parents were extremely supportive. I have a BFA from Colorado State University. But I didn't do anything with it, except some freelance wok until my youngest started college.

I did paint but only in my painting classes. I found them very intimidating. I am very reserved. Drawing was my thing, and I fell in love with illustration. "Keep it simple and tell a story".

I did the art fairs in high school, but I don’t think I really thought about oils, I used watercolors because they were easy to paint and really sold.

Peggy Judy Bison closeup.
"My current painting career started about six years ago. Bought some paints and off I went."

My current painting career started about six years ago. Bought some paints and off I went.

My first real painting sale? I got a call from a NY phone number. I didn’t pick up and it went to voice mail. The message was from a man named Ken Ratner, said he was interested in a little painting of a dairy cow. I had just built a simple website a few weeks prior where he could have seen it. I thought it was a hoax at first so I googled him. He was a legit curator in NYC that worked with the Rockwell Museum there. I sold the piece for two hundred bucks and I was thrilled!


More about this painter:

If you want to find out more about her work- Southwestern Art Magazine did a very nice feature on her work in their August 2018 issue.

Her instagram feed is a charm- she's one of the artists I follow.

And finally of course is her art website.

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