Judy Munro has been involved with art as far back as she can remember. An early childhood drawing of a horse convinced Judy’s parents to encourage her artistic interests. After grade school, she applied for and was accepted into the highly respected art program at Cass Tech High School. That, in turn, led to a scholarship to Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, where she completed her first two years of studies. Judy later graduated with a BA from Wayne State in Detroit, Michigan. Upon graduation, Judy headed into the corporate design world where she enjoyed a successful design and creative management career.
In 2009, Judy took an early retirement in order to reconnect with her art. Since then, she has had numerous solo and group shows. Both her landscapes and figurative work have been published in two books featuring outstanding emerging artists and she is currently represented by five galleries.
Of her figurative work, Judy says, “I see a face, and I have to have it. Although my paintings are inspired by people that I’ve seen, they are not about “portraiture” but about the story that evolves once I’ve placed the “inspiration face” onto canvas.
That “story” lies in hands and faces, in gestures and expressions. The body is merely a rack on which to hang the face and hands, and often remains a flat area meant to define the spatial relationships in the picture, or to “pop” the rendered areas, or to reinforce the “story” told by the hands and face. My people are introspective, full of a thousand details of their lives and yet, they are often confrontational, but without being threatening or arrogant – often looking back at the viewer as though they are the ones looking at a canvas. They are vulnerable, approachable and yet strong and resilient, brimming with secrets, hopes and fears – just like the rest of us.”
Judy’s landscapes tell a different story. She says, “My landscapes are infused with a combination of observation, imagination and “memory fragments”, bits and pieces of sights, sounds, smells and feelings remembered from childhood, a myriad of lasting impressions now translated, alla prima, into paint on a surface. I recall summer vacations and trips, bracketed with endless, fluid roadside montages. I remember forest treks into magnificent cathedrals of nature’s stillness, trees so tall they gobbled up the sky, allowing only occasional shafts of sunlight to pierce their canopy and create altars on the forest floor, while patches of light lay strewn like gold coins, creating paths that beckoned you to venture deeper into the woods. I remember cottage vacations spent lakeside where we ended every day huddled in wool blankets on a shore or dock, into late in the evening, breathing in the cool summer dampness, while the night sky put on a show of light and stars. The shared darkness seemed sacred and comforting and the vast blackness of the lake was made “safe” by the glow from the cottage lights and campfires of other vacationers. These are just some of the remembered impressions repeatedly encoded in so many of my landscapes.”