If you happen to be passing through St. Simon’s Island or Sea Island, Georgia, in the next couple of days, and have an interest in beautiful paintings, stop in at the Anderson Fine Art Gallery, at 3309 Frederica Road, in St. Simon’s. An excellent painter named Judith Pond Kudlow — a.k.a. my wife — will be showing her wares.
I know I am touting my own bride, but it’s a pleasure to do so. Her work is great. It’s from the classical tradition of beauty and truth. In other words, these are paintings of landscapes, still lifes, portraits, and figures that you can look at and enjoy.
Judy’s work is based on the 19th century tradition, which emphasizes precise drawing and careful modeling to produce three-dimensional illusion and harmonious and accurate colors and values. Her work is based on time-honored rules.
Remember, America rose to world prominence in the 19th century, especially in the post-Civil War period, when we became the premiere global economic power. There was no income tax, and money policy was based on the gold standard. Our navy began to rule the world. Industrial production was unparalleled. Religious virtues governed our culture. Unbelievably good literature and art were produced.
Judith and her associates, especially Andrea Smith from the Florence Academy, are leading lights in the return to classical painting. Sometimes it’s called natural realism. I just call it conservative art. Let me tell you what it’s not — it’s not modernistic, abstract, self-centered expressionism. It’s not just throwing paint at a canvas. It doesn’t tear down art, or the rest of the world, for that matter. It’s not the negative pessimistic crap that too often passes for art in blue states like New York and, well, you know where else. These are just beautiful, calm, pleasant pictures. Stuff you can enjoy looking at, which is what I think art should be.
Judy’s work has been recognized by the prestigious American Arts Quarterly (edited by James Cooper.) It’s counter-revolutionary to all the weird paintings that have been floating around for the last 40 or 50 years. These paintings take a while to produce, and drawing is at a premium. They leave one positive and feeling optimistic. This new movement represents the force of light and right and good in an art world, which, too often, lapses into darkness.
I’m telling you this because I want to give you a good steer toward some great work. Yes, I am biased. For heaven’s sakes, Judy’s my wife. And I love her. But she produces great paintings.