Judy Napangardi Watson was born at Yarungkanji, Mt. Doreen Station, at the time when many Warlpiri and other Central and Western Desert Peoples were living a traditional nomadic life. With her family, Judy made many trips on foot and lived for long periods at Mina Mina and Yingipurlangu, her ancestral country on the border of the Tanami and Gibson Deserts. These places are rich in bush tucker such as wanakiji, bush plums, yakajirri, bush tomatoes, and wardapi, sand goanna. Judy still frequently goes hunting in the country west of Yuendumu, near her homelands.
Judy was taught painting by her elder sister, Maggie Napangardi Watson. She painted alongside her at Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation, an Aboriginal owned and governed art centre in Yuendumu.
Judy had ten children, four of whom she outlived. She was a woman of incredible energy which transmitted to her work through her dynamic use of colour, and energetic “dragged dotting” style. She was at the forefront of a move towards more abstract rendering of Jukurrpa by Warlpiri artists; however her work retains strong kurruwarri, the details which tell of the sacredness of place and song in her culture.