Judy McSween is a Charleston based artist who paints familiar abstracts to document inspiring life experiences. A native of Warren Ohio, and a graduate of Bowling Green State University with a BFA specialization in painting, McSween also taught elementary and middle school art in Ohio and South Carolina for over twenty years. She credits her students with teaching her to interpret her surroundings with fresh eyes and to instill joy in her work.

McSween works from realism combined with intuition, taking an image and deconstructing the composition into sweeping curves of color, unexpected angles, and smooth planes. Painting and scraping through layers to find pathways, she leads viewers through her paintings to spaces infused with light and joy. That light— just beyond the horizon, spilling into a field, or captured for a split second along an edge, is McSween’s signature. Her style combines delicately blended brushwork with bold palette knife marks and drawn lines, making her paintings lively and familiar.

Influenced by the underwater abstracts of Bob Mazur, her painting professor at Bowling Green State University, McSween draws inspiration for her own work from the places she’s lived, from her childhood home in Northeast Ohio to her current home in Charleston, SC. An explorer of the National Parks and outdoor spaces, she brings the serenity and power of nature into her paintings.

Her awards include People Choice Award in Perspectives:The Art of Abstract 2024, Honorable Mention in Amethyst International Juried Exhibit April 2023, 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.

McSween advocates for art to educate and uplift. 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. She is represented by the Dare Gallery in downtown Charleston SC, the Sandpiper Gallery on Sullivan's Island, SC. She is a member of the National Association of Women Artists.

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“Everybody needs beauty—places to play in and pray in where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul alike.” —John Muir