Judy McSween paints Familiar Abstracts, connecting art with emotion and memory. She advocates for art to educate and uplift, embracing the global reach instagram, facebook, and her online gallery provide. Her collectors and fans enjoy videos of her painting process and photos of work in progress as well as her reflective and educational monthly newsletters. McSween is represented by the Dare Gallery in downtown Charleston SC, the Sandpiper Gallery on Sullivan's Island, SC, and Adina Gallery in Austin TX.
A native of Warren Ohio, and a graduate of Bowling Green State University with a BFA specialization in painting, McSween has always been an artist. She says she has drawn as long as she can remember.
Her awards include Best Painting in Piccolo Spoleto Juried Art Exhibit at Charleston's City Gallery 2022, Honorable Mention for her paintings at the 2019 Piccolo Spoleto Outdoor Art Exhibit In Charleston, SC, Honorable Mentions in North Charleston’s Festival of the Arts both in oils and acrylics, second prize in South Haven Michigan’s 2018 Art of the Sea, and an Award of Excellence in Clermont Florida’s Champions for the Arts 2016.
In 2017, she was selected as the Design Winner of the The City of North Charleston Arts Fest Design Competition. As the winner of the statewide contest, McSween’s abstract oil painting, titled Scraping the Sky II, was used to promote the 2017 North Charleston Arts Fest, and the painting became part of the City’s permanent Public Art Collection.
Her paintings have graced the covers of the Charleston County Parks and Recreation Program Guide and the 2015 baseball novel, Dreaming .400.
Painting is a language I use to connect with others. The glimmer of light I begin with in every painting is the “icebreaker” that draws viewers into the conversation. I use my surroundings and personal photos of places I’ve travelled to as inspiration for my compositions. Each place is significant because of its story—my childhood neighborhood, an epic family vacation out west, a quiet beach getaway. Places that speak to me are places that resound with others because of shared experiences.
Light is the heart of every painting.
The first marks I make on the surface of a painting are the points of light and the lines emanating from them. As I shift my process from the distillation of an image—lines and shapes on a plane— to intuitive color mixing and mark making, I use brushes, palette knives, towels, and even my fingers to manipulate the surface. My interpretation of the emotion I felt in the place where I first found myself or where I took the photo is a dreamlike scene, sometimes ethereal, sometimes dramatic, but always imbued with a sense of awe. These paintings “speak” of joy that invites viewers to respond.