A Tokyo shopping street smelling of sandalwood.
Ume and Kiku flowers embroidered on silk kimonos.
A one-man band of bells, drums and other music-makers entertaining children.
Rotting hulks of ships in a Philippine harbor turning its water brown.
The texture and temperature of air in each place.
A plethora of sights and sounds like these greeted Judy Giuliani in the far-off places where her military families were assigned. First with her parents in the Navy and then with her husband in the Air Force. All this traveling meant that she lived in 36 different locations in 36 years! She could have lamented the fact that she was missing out on a typical American childhood. Instead, she chose to enjoy and absorb what each new place had to offer, eagerly observing the art and traditions of other cultures. Over time distinctive details were stored away in her mind’s eye until the urge to take up the brush lead her to include them in paintings.
For many years, her adult life focused on family and work, but she was able to take advantage of sporadic opportunities to indulge her artistic appetite. She studied art as the lessons presented themselves. While in Texas, a friend taught her Tole painting. An artist in Arizona instructed her on how to stretch the limits of one color in a series of monochromatic still life paintings on canvas.
But art classes were put mostly on hold while she cared for her small children, studied for a bachelor’s degree in American Studies (1972), and acquired a masters in Organizations and Organizational Behavior. By the time she completed her master’s studies, Judy was living in Washington DC and had a job as director of admission for the dental school at Georgetown University. Subsequently she spent ten years as a graphic designer developing the technical processes of editing images and forming design effective layouts. In addition to numerous university catalogs, she worked on a particularly intriguing book for a United Nations Landmine Symposium.
After her design job ended, Judy segued easily into art classes. Taking a basic drawing class with her daughter at the Art League School in Alexandria VA was the final nudge pushing her over into a career in the fine arts. Deanna Schwartzberg’s abstract class and then Rob Vanderzee’s expert coaching encouraged her to find her own personal expression. In each class she asked, “What can I do to push the logical left brain thinking aside so I can paint more loosely?”
“No matter where I am or what I am looking at, color grabs me,” Judy reflects. Some of her paintings start with a fresh white canvas and a limited palette of colors. Others make use of salvaged old paintings. She ponders as she works on her current series, “How can I push this, make it more playful or funky?” As with the French Fauve painters of the early 1900’s, the answers are found in juxtaposing high intensity colors with abstracted floral motifs--subtracting out some things and focusing on what remains. Judy, like Matisse and others, separates color from its descriptive, representational purpose, thus allowing it to exist on the canvas as an independent element. Color projects a mood and establishes a structure on the canvas without having to be true to the three dimensional natural world. Judy’s current work is an emotional response to flowers, a unique intuitive expression.
“Right brain thinking has changed how I see everything--from 17 shades of gray in the side of a barn to outlandish pink in the clouds.” The fun for her in painting is to put a few arbitrary marks on the canvas in hopes that they will become a dialogue between her passion for color and the joy of brushing on the paint. Judy Giuliani’s first Touchstone Gallery solo exhibit is Tutto sui Fiori (It’s All About Flowers).Viewers will experience the freedom, warmth, and joy in Judy’s colorful, intuitive, abstracted Fauvist flower paintings. Rosemary Luckett
Tutto sui Fiori, Touchstone Gallery, 901 New York Ave NW, Washington DC. August 31, October 2,2016. Opening: Friday, September 9, 6-8:30 pm.
Artist Talk: Sunday, September 25, 2pm. Wed-Fri 11-6 and Sat-Sun 12-5. firstname.lastname@example.org 202-347-2787.