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Strokes of Joy
Living in each of her paintings
by Regina Romanaux

Like her paintings, Krysia Woods is vibrant and captivating. The Australian transplant and her family moved to Maplewood two years ago after a short stint in Madison. "I love this town," says the artist with a Down Under accent. "I try to tell my friends back home what it is like but it’s impossible. They must come and see. There’s no place like it on earth." Her conviction is unwavering whether talking about this community, motherhood, politics or her art.

Krysia (rhymes with Trisha) Woods has never been formally trained in art, although her mother always painted. She actually graduated from the University of Queensland with a degree in Pharmacy. The degree went to good use; she owned and managed several pharmacies in Australia. Woods has also dabbled in modeling and acting. It wasn’t until after the death of her mother that she returned to art for solace and a connection to her mother. Woods paints and exhibits her work under the name "Krysia D," which is a reference to her maiden name, in honor of her parents.

Success as a painter came quickly and in 1995 her talents made their way to the United States. Woods was the first Australian artist to be contracted by America’s largest gallery group, Wentworth Gallery. Woods now travels regularly, showing her work in California and Florida.

Woods’s house, which serves as gallery and studio, is also the warm and loving home to her family, husband Ross, seven-year-old Harry and three-year-old Jack Henry. The newest member of their family is Siegfried, a miniature Schnauzer.

Like her work, the walls of her home are lavishly painted. The rich hues of reds, yellows and blues are the perfect background to her paintings, which range from brilliant shots of Europe, collages of local beaches, floral arrangements, still lifes, portraits of her children and abstracts of the female form.

The artist paints in layers, which means that beneath one color, there is another. Combined, the subject is brought to life. With this method, explains Woods, "It is important that when hanging a painting, it is well lit." Woods uses only acrylic paints. "The good news about acrylic is that it dries quickly," she explains. Woods smiles and continues. "The bad news about acrylic is that it dries quickly."

It is hard to imagine that any of her work could be associated with bad news. Even her reproductions or ‘giclees’ are gorgeous. Woods has limited prints of her works produced in New York City, then hand-embellishes each one. But the artist isn’t focused on mass-distribution of her art, and she takes pride in the work that she does on a commission basis.

"I love to meet with people and learn about them, what’s important to them. I want create something that is going to mean something to them personally," explains Woods. "A painting should be a conversation piece, and the owners have to feel passionate about it, or else, why buy it?" Woods explains that she would never require clients to purchase a work that they didn’t absolutely love. When asked if that has ever happened, her smile appears again. "Never," she declares.

Fellow Maplewood residents and art collectors Frans Helmond and Sylvia Engelen back up Woods’s declaration. Originally from the Netherlands, the couple met the artist by way of their mutual realtor, Peter Fife. Helmond and Engelen describe themselves as art lovers and collect pieces to which they feel connected. When Helmond and Engelen, who love to travel, attended Woods’s open house, they fell in love with a painting of Venice. The couple decided to look around before committing, and by the time they came back to it, it had already been sold. They didn’t go home empty-handed. A Portofino cafe scene graces one of their living room walls.

"What I really like about Krysia’s work is the joy of living that comes out of her paintings," explains Engelen, also a gifted painter.

In fact, it is the joy of living that comes out of Woods herself. She finds inspiration everywhere she goes. Her value of every experience, every person she meets, is conveyed through her natural talent.

Regina Romanaux is a freelance writer who aspires to own an original piece from Krysia D.
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