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‘An entirely different skyline’: The works of J. Sutton Wooddy to be featured at Evolve

By Staff | Aug 16, 2019

SHEPHERDSTOWN — J. Sutton Wooddy remembers growing up in Shepherdstown, before moving to southern Maryland and pursuing her artistic dreams.

“I lived here as a child and I went to Shepherd College,” Wooddy said. “Shepherdstown’s a different town than I remember it — there’s so much life in this town. I’ve never seen so much going on in my life, as what’s going on in this town.”

Although Wooddy grew up residing in Charles Town and Martinsburg, she spent a lot of time in Shepherdstown as a child.

“My mother graduated from Shepherd College. My grandmother lived here until her death, and her home’s still here,” Wooddy said. “I graduated from Shepherd with an art teacher’s degree. I also carried three majors – art, music and drama. Frank Guy, who was my music teacher, told me, ‘You’d better stick to one thing, instead of three,’ so I stuck to my art.”

Seven months ago, Wooddy and her husband decided it was time to downsize and move back to Jefferson County.

“My husband, Larry Rooney, and I decided to size down, and I said, ‘Let’s go some place where I know someone,'” Wooddy said. “And we ended up here on Kearneysville Pike, on the edge of Shepherdstown.”

After Wooddy graduated from Shepherd, she began her lengthy career in art with a teaching job.

“I went down to southern Maryland, where I taught art in the public schools for 10 years,” Wooddy said, mentioning she was then able to pursue her artistic dreams more fully. “I did work at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore.”

While Wooddy has studied art throughout her life, she believes her self-education has influenced her work the most.

“I’m basically a self-taught person,” Wooddy said, mentioning her work features landscapes and animals. “I started when I was nine years old. Of course, my parents encouraged me. I was also greatly influenced by a woman in Charles Town, that took me into her studio and let me watch some of her work, Miss Patty Willis. She encouraged me, and let me sit quietly in the studio with her.

“I’ll never stop painting,” Wooddy said. “I’ve already figured out some new things I want to do, that have to do with this area. I’ve been fascinated by the skies here – it’s an entirely different skyline. I’m sure it’s because of the mountains. I got away from here, but I’m excited about doing some interpretive work from this area.”

Wooddy is showing a selection of her paintings and sculptures at Evolve today through Sept. 2. The show, which is open Thursdays through Sundays, will be featuring an opening reception tonight from 6-8 p.m.