Judy Woods


I remember as a child trotting around after my mother asking her “What can I make? I feel like making something…”. Always searching for the satisfaction from creating something: I sewed, made a lot of little stuffed animals, cushions, knitwear, and I did Art. I graduated from Otago Polytechnic School of Fine Arts in 1985 and soon after went to Teachers College. I taught Art for 15 years, and while I loved this job I always wanted to do my own work.  In 2016 I threw myself wholeheartedly into my painting again.  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, combinations of materials would surprise and result in work that referenced ideas and thoughts, that in no way could have been planned.  I became more and more enchanted with the accidental mark.

I love elevating the mundane in my work – by incorporating collage elements I literally bring everyday throwaway detritus and call it Art.  Some collage is hidden under many layers of paint to create lumps and bumps and a history in the work which gives it a richness. When I come to the end of the painting I like to add a few more little collage surprises. I use anything from scraps of paper from the studio floor to beautiful old stamps from my late fathers collection.

I don’t want my work to be literal. I want it to be interpreted by the viewer as they bring their perspective to it, and experience surprise by unpredictable combinations of the accidental and intentional; the laboured and freemarks, in paint and mixed media. When these combinations culminate in a rich balance that is satisfying and holds the viewer’s attention I feel the painting is complete.

My inspiration is really ‘life’.  There are so many analogies between the process of painting and life in general.  Life is largely unplanned, you respond to what shows up along your path, it requires discipline, risk, and curiosity to search for your place and identity in the greater picture.  All this is true in the process of painting also.   


Otago Polytechnic Diploma of Fine Arts 1985 (Tutors: Peter Nichols, Andrew Drummond, Kobe Gossard, Waldon Tucker, Chris de Jong)

Professional Development Courses: Philippa Blair, Fatu Feu’u, Marte Vrede

Galleries and Shows

Megan Dickinson Gallery (Whangarei)

Soul Gallery (Hamilton)

KOAST 2019 (Kerikeri Open Art Studio Trail - Guest Artist)

Quarry Arts (Whangarei)


2019 Winner of Zinnie Douglas Merit Award, Waiheki Community Art Gallery

2019 Finalist Tasman National Art Awards