Sunday, January 23, 2022

Acorns for an Artist



By Inez Hudson

My husband has a saying regarding luck, “Sometimes even a blind squirrel finds an acorn.” I’ve always liked it. Michigan, my former home, has lots of squirrels and chipmunks that work very hard to gather as many acorns as they can, before the cold winter arrives. Since moving to Southwest Florida in 2001, I’ve worked hard to gather art acorns, which include: awards; two cartoon maps of Marco Island; member of the former Artist Colony at the Esplanade; one-woman shows; painted life-sized sculptures of gators, a dolphin, and two turtles in the ongoing “Turtles on the Town” project in Collier County (one on permanent display at the Naples YMCA, the other at St. Anne’s School in Naples); and much more.

I was introduced to “en plein air” (painting outdoors) through the Outdoor Artists of Marco Island. That led to painting in wet paint events – Third on Canvas (three years), Wet Paint Live (seven), and Paint the Beach (two). In 2015, my piece for Wet Paint Live set a record in the live auction! Currently I’m a painting instructor at both the Marco Island Center for the Arts and the Visual Arts Center of Punta Gorda. I’ve had dreams of one day being able to attend a plein air workshop in France or Italy. I’ve never once thought of being the one teaching the workshop! I recently had a jewel of an acorn find me, Inez Hudson, self-taught artist, wife, and mother! I’ve been invited to teach such a workshop in the Minervois section of southwestern France!

Teaching this plein air workshop (acrylic and oil) seems a perfect fit! It is a legendary area known for its tales of the Knights Templar, the Holy Grail, and the medieval troubadours. There are ruins of Cathar castles, ancient villages, and seaside ports. It includes Montsegur, a hilltop fortress linked to Holy Grail legends (recently featured in the documentary, “The Secret of Oak Island”), the Mediterranean seaside port of Gruissan, and the sunflower fields of Fanjeaux. There are distant mountains, olive groves, and vineyards – absolutely everything an artist dreams of capturing. It was home to famous artist, Toulouse Lautrec. Many famous artists painted in this mystical region, including the Renaissance painter Nicolas Poussin, modernists Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, and Marc Chagall. Oh, and let’s not forget Vincent Van Gogh. I find this region of France softly singing to me, not only because of its mystic legends, but for its stunning scenery. To capture this on canvas allows an artist to play the song in their own tune, with their own instruments.

If you’ve had a similar dream, I hope you will consider joining me on this most amazing adventure and gather a few acorns of your own! If interested, please visit for all information and registration, or contact me through my website, Let’s gather as many acorns as we can along the way!

Note: Inez will be participating in Wet Paint Live on Tuesday, February 16th, painting on the northwest side of the Jolley Bridge.

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