Texas Pastoral
18 x 24 in.
Oil on linen
Available from the artist. On display at the San Angelo Museum of Fine Art, San Angelo, TX.

Kathleen Hudson, who hails from the Bluegrass region in central Kentucky, felt right at home painting the Texas ranchland last fall during EnPleinAir Texas. Typically, such a change in topography would require an artist to make some major adjustments to her palette, but the ranches around San Angelo were on their third straight week of record-breaking rain. As a result, Kathleen realized, she observed almost the same spectrum of greens she knew well from painting in her home state.

Kathleen painted Texas Pastoral on a ranch near Christoval, Texas. After arriving early, she got there early for a sunrise that never happened.

“I was hoping the sun would break through near the horizon,” she said. “The ranch was set high enough that it offered wide views of the land surrounding it.”

Low clouds, however, ensured it was nearly dark until an hour after sunrise. Hudson set about finding a subject that would work with only the ambient light of the gray sky. She picked a view heavy on greens.

“My favorite time to paint green is when it’s overcast,” said Kathleen. “The richest greens lose their intensity under warm sunlight, so working on a day with thick atmosphere can help me emphasize the variety of greens I see.”

Texas Pastoral picks up the rich variety of greens and textures Kathleen saw. The still water in the stream reflects the trees above like a mirror, and a band of lighter warmth across the sky revealed a brief moment in the early morning when the sun brightened the view. Her selected view was a hit with other artists in the festival, too. By mid-morning, a whole line of artists had set up easels to paint this curve in the stream.

“I loved seeing other folks’ interpretations of the stream and pasture. No two paintings were similar, and of course the morning was punctuated with plenty of painting commentary and good-natured ribbing.”

At the end of the week, juror Kenn Backhaus selected Kathleen’s painting Window on West Texas for the event’s Grand Prize. It sold at live auction during the opening gala. The award included an invite to next year’s iteration of EnPleinAir Texas, something Kathleen is looking forward to, even if she might not end up seeing as much familiar green in the area next year.

See more of Kathleen’s painting online and sign up for her e-newsletter. She can also be found on Facebook.

About the Artist
Kathleen B. Hudson emphasizes dynamic light and atmospherics in her landscape paintings. Her work has been featured on the cover of PleinAir Magazine and in Southwest Art and Fine Art Connoisseur. Awards include Grand Prize in the PleinAir Salon, Grand Prize at EnPleinAir Texas, and Artists’ Choice at Forgotten Coast en Plein Air.

Kathleen enjoyed a somewhat bohemian education and travelled widely, visiting dozens of art museums and exploring varied landscapes. In 2005 she moved to Boston to pursue a degree at Harvard University, where she painted, studied mountain travel narratives, and led backpacking trips. Now based in Lexington, Kentucky, she takes part in national festivals and teaches workshops around the country.

Kathleen’s instructional video, Creating Dramatic Atmosphere in Landscapes, is available through Streamline Publishing.