Judge Judy rules on Invercargill artist

American television star Judge Judy Sheindlin has given her verdict on an Invercargill woman's art - she loves its so much she has bought it.

Staff at the Otago Art Society gallery in Dunedin were left buzzing yesterday, saying Judge Judy, the acid-tongued yet beloved reality television star, bought a painting called Window of Summer by Invercargill artist Gaye McElroy.

While the visit created a stir among the gallery staff, McElroy said she had never watched the Judge Judy show. "I must have a look at the programme. I hardly ever watch television."

Judge Judy is an American arbitration-based reality court show.

Judge Judy also bought two other paintings, including one by Queenstown artist Sun Shee Shin, named Farmhouse Central Otago, gallery staff said.

Although McElroy said she had never seen Judge Judy, she said she did share some of the straight-talking retired Manhattan Family Court judge's traits. "I'm pretty up front. I've been described as feisty, I don't give up and I'm very determined to get things right.

"I have a high expectation of others as well. It drives my husband to distraction."

McElroy had expected the work to sell from the Hope and Sons Award 2014 exhibition, as her work sells "quite well" in Dunedin, but it was still a nice surprise to hear her work had been sold to a celebrity. The art work, named Window of Summer, sold for $750.

"Its just lovely to know that someone else appreciates what you've created." McElroy, 66, didn't start painting until 8 years ago.

A former soprano, her voice "just vanished" so she picked up a brush and began to paint, she said.

"To my surprise I could do it so I thought, ‘Wow, if I'd never discovered that what a shame it would have been"'.

"I've just enjoyed it so much - the people I've met, the different things I've been involved with, it's just a whole new life."

She draws on her years of sewing and her love of fabrics and draping to inspire her work.

The Southland Times