Kathleen Breeden Hudson lives and paints in Lexington, Kentucky, where she has a studio at Artists’ Attic. Hudson is a Signature Member of the American Society of Marine Artists and an Artist Member of the Copley Society of Art in Boston, MA. Hudson moved from her native Kentucky to Boston in the fall of 2005 to begin an undergraduate degree at Harvard University.
During her years in Boston, Hudson came to love the beautiful New England landscape as she painted, studied mountain travel narratives, and led backpacking trips for fellow students. In 2013, Hudson returned to her hometown of Lexington and began to take part in regional plein air painting festivals. Hudson now undertakes several national juried competitions each year, and when she’s not outside painting from life, you can find her in the studio creating larger scale landscapes that emphasize the dynamic interplay of light, shadow, and atmospherics. In 2017, Hudson received the Grand Prize in the 6th Annual PleinAir Salon for her plein air painting Bright Morning, Timberline Falls.
What makes a landscape otherworldly or sublime?
The short answer: light and atmospheric movement.
“The landscape has always been my chief source of artistic inspiration. I love to capture sweeping views of rugged terrain, shimmering waves, and dramatic atmospherics. According to my family, I began painting as soon I was old enough to hold a brush. Oils became my favored medium during middle school, when I painstakingly copied several of John Singer Sargent’s works. I enjoyed an unconventional upbringing and travelled broadly, exploring new terrain and—notably—dozens of art museums. Viewing awe-inspiring places like Yosemite, the Wye Valley in Wales, and Niagara Falls left me with a desire to recreate some of these scenes on canvas.”
“To this day I try to evoke that same childhood sense of wonder in my landscapes. My paintings represent specific places and moments in time: the brief point during a sunrise when the sun fills the air with an ethereal golden glow; a break in a storm where light pierces through heavy clouds; or the sight of glacial runoff sending waterfalls down the side of a mountain wreathed in fog.
Scenes like this are real, but because my paintings highlight rare moments of particular beauty, they tread a fine line between the “real” and the otherworldly.”
“A mountain may become more than just a mountain when you stand beneath it and watch sunlight dance across its slopes’ jagged contours. You listen to the wind whistle overhead as it enters rock crevices and rushes downward; moments later, you feel its breath across your face. The same atmospheric forces that make the mountain arrestingly beautiful—moving light, air, clouds—envelop you, too. You become part of the landscape. It is then that the mountain becomes part of a visual drama that can awaken something within you, filling you with wonder and even longing.
When I envision a new painting, I focus on points of shifting light and atmosphere in the scene. To me, these are the source of a landscape’s beauty: the things that make us stop and look before continuing on our way.”