Road trip through Yosemite, at last!

My latest voyage reminded me why the grandeur of the American West has always been a source of inspiration for me. Whether looking across miles of open space to a distant mountain range or being enveloped by the spirit lifting perfume of mountain sage, I found myself contemplating the journeys of those who travelled this land in years long passed.
We set out from Utah, my brother Joss and I, on what would be an adventurous road trip through the desert and mountains to Laguna, California - his new home. Adult life has taken us far from the hours spent together daily as kids, so it sure was nice to watch the signal bars on my cell phone fade to zero. No more habitual e-mailing or texting, time to soak up the multi-sensory experiences of nature with my brother, and sketch some painting ideas.
Yosemite was the expected pinnacle of our journey and certainly lived up to that, with the Merced river calling us in for an afternoon baptism at the holiest of places, el Capitan... Crystal clear water and the golden sun elevated our swim to something far more spiritual. Truly magnificent, but the great fun of road trips is the unexpected highlights along the way; exploring a long forgotten sawmill, catching glimpses of wild animals focused on survival, watching various features of the terrain alternate from warmly lit to dark and cool as the clouds move across the sky, and experiencing absolute silence while hiking through Nevada valleys! Who would have guessed such serenity could be found in the same state that gave birth to Vegas.
We were welcomed back to civilization by the hustle and bustle of Southern California, but luckily the warm (what a nice surprise) Pacific Ocean provided us with great waves for what would be a family first - all five of us in the line up surfing together!

My brother Joss and I in Nevada's Humboldt National Forest.

"Mountain Sage", an oil painting tribute to the Western native spirit.

Detailed micro portrait from "Mountain Sage".

Abraxas sketching Laguna, photo by Kira, Savana, Joss and Diana Hudson!

Graphite sketch of the Laguna coast.

My NEW gallery in Downtown Lewes, Delaware is open!

After a 10 day 'round the clock transformation, my new gallery is open at 123c 2nd Street in Lewes! This new studio/gallery has ample room for me to paint, and space to display my original works, signed reproductions, and just for fun I've added an adventure gear section! Come check out the items I throw in my bag when I head into the wilderness to paint! Where else can you find fine art, sketch sets, handmade Brasslite camping stoves, a survival kit, pocket knife, the brightest pocket flashlights in the world, and a pocket chainsaw? Gallery hours are 11 a.m.- 6 p.m. daily.

Abraxas' new studio/gallery!

The studio area of my new gallery

Gear for your next adventure!

Sketching Acadia National Park

Abraxas sketching Acadia National Park
Abraxas sketching Acadia National Park, photo by Kate Fitzgerald.

Maine's coast is rugged, beautiful, and full of subjects to paint! I just returned from a week long "campainting" trip to Acadia National Park and have lots of artwork started (and some completed).

Artists often travel to Maine in search of inspiration and I sure found plenty. It is always interesting to view the variation in works of other artists, and so as I always do, I browsed through the many galleries of coastal Maine, enjoying that wonderful diversity. I often see that unique interpretation of the same scenery when my friends and I paint together - there is so much happening when you paint outdoors that every passing moment presents new possibilities, and each of us will get excited about those different elements... Once incorporated into our canvas stories, our works become unique.

Coming from Delaware, especially after spending so much time on our beaches this summer (working of course), the craggy coast of Maine was a fascinating change. Great landscapes combined with the action of man upon the water made my head spin with ideas! Boats have always intrigued me and there were plenty to choose from as I wandered up and down the coast. Sailboats and fleets of lobster boats abound, beautiful in all forms; clean, dirty, moored, and sailing. While sitting on a rock or standing at my easel, I was mesmerized by the movement of the boats, some at anchor and some cruising past, nothing on the water stood still. Below are a couple of pencil sketches from my journey.

Northern Harbor, a pencil sketch by Abraxas.
Northern Harbor, a graphite sketch by Abraxas.
Morning Commute, a graphite sketch by Abraxas.
Morning Commute, a graphite sketch by Abraxas.

Having been a camper all of my life, leaky tents were all I knew, so I am really enjoying my Airstream travel trailer, especially in cold weather! My 19' International CCD has everything I need and is small enough that it is easy to tow (a harrowing near death experience on the trip proved that it is quite maneuverable). After a cold day of painting and exploring it is nice to have heat, music, and a cozy bed (and protection from wild animals). Actually, it's kind of hard to call that camping, but it sure is fun!

Abraxas' mobile studio.
Abraxas' mobile studio.

Thanks for checking in! Come visit if you find yourself in Milton, and I'll show you what I'm working on!

Rosario Beach prints are ready!

Prints of  my painting "Rosario Beach" are now available! This print was produced as a companion piece to my print of neighboring Deception Pass, both prints are the same size and depict two scenes from Washington state's Deception Pass State Park. The prints measure 17.5" tall by 29" wide, in an edition of 900 signed and numbered prints. Pricing for this Limited Edition print is; $200 for the numbered edition, $300 for Artist Proofs (while they last), and $400 for a print with an original pencil remarque. Rosario Beach prints are available online by clicking here or at my studio, as always I offer free shipping via FedEx!

 

Rosario Beach by Abraxas

 

Here I am working on Rosario Beach... Beautiful beach, warm light, and chilly air!

 

Abraxas Paints Rosario Beach

 

 

Puget Sound is one of my favorite destinations in America - and exploring the islands within the Sound is a memory that always makes me smile. Rosario Beach is on Fidalgo island, just North of Whidbey Island, where I typically stay. A place where bald eagles, orcas, salmon, and friendly people abound!

In memory of my dad, Jody Hudson

My dad Jody Hudson has passed away. Dad was an endless source of love, knowledge, and inspiration to myself and many others. As a son and artist, I can not imagine a more wonderful dad, and friend. I know you'll be checking out my blog dad, I love and miss you. Friends and family, please add any thoughts or stories you may have to the comments section below.

jody-hudson

jody-hudson

Joseph "Jody" Hudson, Jr.

March 16, 1949 - November 11, 2008

Joseph R. "Jody" Hudson Jr. 59, of Lewes, passed away Tuesday, November 11, 2008 at his home. Jody was born March 16, 1949 in Milford and he was the first of 3 children born to Joe and the late Faye Hudson.

He graduated from Lewes High School in 1967 and then worked on the family farm until enlisting in the United States Coast Guard. After his tour in the Coast Guard, Jody came back to Lewes where he received his Real Estate license in 1972. Since 1972, Jody has been involved in the Real Estate Industry in various capacities including licensed Realtor, Broker, and Community Developer. Jody helped manage, sell, and/or develop: Cripple Creek, Eagle Crest Aerodrome, Lazy Lake, Overbrook Shores, Tanglewood, Cool Spring Farms, Covey Creek, and Cave Colony.

Most recently Jody served as one of the most active members of the Positive Growth Alliance, and was elected President of the Board of Directors. Jody was very committed to his role as President and went above and beyond the call of duty to serve his board.

Outside of his professional life, Jody was a loquacious, supportive and loving father, colorful character, gifted photographer, philosopher, listener, storyteller, salesman, business consultant, adventurer, pragmatic naturalist, avid target shooter, weapons expert, problem solver, reader, writer, patriot, protector of the Constitution, expert on most topics, an Avatar, and friend to many people near and far, who was prepared for anything. His ever-present smile, entertaining stories, enthusiastic conversations, commentaries, monologues, valuable suggestions, and numerous other unique contributions to the community will be missed. In faith, Jody was a Minister of the Church of Scientology, and had recently been attending the Lewes Church of Christ.

Jody is survived by his three children, Joss Hudson and his wife Diana; Abraxas Hudson and Jazz Hudson; two grandchildren Savana and Kira Hudson; his father Joe and wife Christine Hudson; sister Susie Hudson, brother Craig and his wife Liz Hudson, step sister Janel Hudson; two nephews, Christian and his wife Julie Hudson, and Jamin Hudson.

The Hudson family would like to express their sincere appreciation for the great outpouring of support that they have received from the community.

In lieu of flowers, the family would like to suggest that you make a charitable donation in Jody’s memory to the USO (United Services Organization) World Headquarters, Department WS, PO Box 96860, Washington, DC 20090-6860 or the organization of your choice in memory of Jody.

Photo above by dad's friend, photographer Kevin Fleming

Dad was an accomplished photographer and here is a short video I have compiled of some of his best work. After happily sifting through the thousands of photos he had taken I decided to focus on primarily coastal Delaware. Dad kept these photos in a flash memory card he wore around his neck, in a sort of Ansel Adams meets James Bond fashion statement! Enjoy...

Thanks to Steve Plotkin for this beautiful video of dad's memorial bonfire...

Please post your thoughts and stories about Dad at the link below...

From Utah to Delaware

Now that I am back from an amazing trip through Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming, I have sketches and paintings to finish... and thousands of photos to sort through! Although the weather was wonderful in Yellowstone, painting for hours in 50 degree weather made my hands numb, at which point I would put down my brushes and pick up my camera. Taking photographs was a great way of forcing myself to explore, as there was so much to see in the vast Western lands. For those who met me along my journey and asked about prints of my works in progress, send me an e-mail and I'll let you know when the paintings and prints are ready!

Wild animals are abundant in Yellowstone but shouldn't be taken for granted, those who are hurried will miss wonderful opportunities to observe this intricately woven ecosystem. Below are a few of my favorite photos from the trip, stop by my studio and I'll show you the full slide show, and my artwork from the trip!

*Note Oct. 17: People have asked what kind of fancy camera equipment I used on my trip, and the good news is, there is nothing fancy about it! My Canon SX100 IS works fine for me ($250, and it received only mediocre reviews), and unfortunately I didn't have my tripod... Here are my tips for good photography; a decent camera within reach, patience, composition, and plenty of charged batteries!!! When I paint on location it is rare that I am able to finish the entire piece while in front of the subject, so I use my photographs to remind myself of the subject's intricate details. Quite often the color present in real life is not reproduced by the camera, and that is where the challenge for me, the painter, begins - adding the colors and atmosphere that the camera could not capture.

Some people say luck plays a large part in taking good pictures, but as Thomas Jefferson once said, "I find that the harder I work, the luckier I am". Climbing out of my sleeping bag 2 hours before sunrise in 20 degree weather wasn't easy, nor was making it out to Yellowstone in the first place! I find joy in my adventures, and besides, as I have been heard saying "no one wants to hear stories about your time spent in front of the television, so get outside!"

Click here to view a short video of me painting works from this trip...

 

The following are photographs from my journey...

The Grand Tetons

 

Autumn color in Teton National Park

 

Sundance Resort

 

Trees in the mist

 

Yellowstone River Canyon

 

Yellowstone sunset

 

Fumaroles at Yellowstone

 

Moon over Yellowstone

 

Elk battle in Yellowstone

 

A coyote roams the plains of Yellowstone

 

A tiny fearless creature watches over Yellowstone Canyon

Camping and painting in Yellowstone!

The magnificence of Yellowstone cannot be over estimated! After painting, camping, and exploring, for five days I understand why this place was protected as the world's first national park.I have set my easel at Artist Point over-looking the lower falls of the Yellowstone River (below is a photo of my setup). Yellowstone Canyon is a scene of breathtaking beauty, I am painting the river as it cascades down 308 feet to a rainbow lit mist. The canyon is alive with color - yellow and red rocks accented with vibrant green vegetation growing from the craggy cliff walls! This painting will take weeks to complete, but I have laid out the basic shadow and light areas. Photos can be valuable for detail reference, but sketching out tonal values while on location allows the artist the chance to accurately capture the essence of a place, even if the painting is completed in the studio.

Many thanks to all who have called to check on my well being! Doing great out here in the wild, the air is clean and the wildlife is abundant, I had the good fortune to stumble upon two male elk in an antler locked fight for dominance (sixty feet from me)!

 

And here I am painting, my thanks to Nancy Housel for e-mailing this shot! 

Rehoboth Beach's Lake Gerar

In preparation for my trip to Yellowstone I have been streamlining my gear. My iPhone is set to update my blog from the field and my new (hopefully waterproof) tent just arrived! After spending a couple of days painting Lake Gerar in Rehoboth Beach I am ready to head out west... I'll be leaving my gallery in Milton on Monday morning! My plan is to spend a few days in Park City, Utah painting, and then I'll drive to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Park. Weather permitting (snow already at the upper elevations), I'll camp and paint when I find a scene that speaks to me!

This blog entry is an experiment - the photo of myself painting and text entry were achieved with just my iphone! Look for more entries in the coming days as I roam the wild west!

Painting the Adirondack State Park!

My "Sketch the Parks" tour has begun! My plan to tour the parks of America has commenced with a journey throughout New York's Adirondack State Park and Catskill Park. Canoeing, camping, and painting off the beaten path has always brought me closer to nature, providing inspiration and clarity far from the daily distractions of modern living. Replacing the sound of telephones with the call of wild animals feeds my soul and reminds me of my true purpose, chronicling my time on earth with my paintbrush!

The National Park System was created to preserve the health, diversity, and beauty of nature, while ensuring public access to these wondrous places. Nineteenth century artists such as Thomas Cole, Frederic Church, Thomas Moran, and Albert Bierstadt were instrumental in the creation of the National Parks System. By exposing people in the power centers of the Eastern U.S. to the beauty of the pristine wilderness, these artists and others ignited an effort to protect lands throughout America from the rampant industrialization and expansion of our growing country. By painting my favorite parks in the twenty first century, I am fulfilling my duty to renew interest in the magnificence of nature!

The Journey begins...

Paddling my canoe up a tributary of Raquette Lake in Adirondack State Park, I am with every stroke of my paddle further from man and closer to nature. Eager to allow my adventure to unfold as freely as possible, I left Milton, Delaware with plenty of painting and camping gear for a weeklong sojourn, with no exact destination in mind. Once I entered the Adirondacks, I explored by car and foot until I found a river with no manmade structures visible, and then I loaded and launched my canoe. 

Paddling from Raquette Lake

Hearing the distant sound of rushing water awakened my senses after a two hour paddle on that steamy June day. As the river had become marshland it was apparent that I would be portaging (carrying canoe and gear) through the swamp directed only by sound... Luckily it wasn't long before I was back in my boat heading towards a small waterfall/rapids area nestled in the woods. Perfect, I had found my first plein air painting scene!

Approaching the rapids

After setting up camp, hanging my food (bear country, oh dear!), and creating a rock fire ring, it was time for dinner... and sleep! The quantity and hunger of the black flies present necessitated a hot smoky fire... Luckily the pain and annoyance of these flying devils kept my mind from worrying about bears!

Campfire lit, flies gone!

Painting in the rain!

The next morning I awoke to a steady rain that informed me of my tent's lack of water repellency. Luckily I paint in oil so there was no problem painting in the rain! Having passed on the umbrella option that would have complemented my new Soltek Easel nicely, I was left with no choice but to set up and paint in a downpour. I have always enjoyed experiments and this was an interesting one. Water beads up and runs from a vertical oily surface, perfect! Painting at the base of the rapids in the pouring rain also kept me alert to the possibility of a flash flood, luckily that was an adventure that never materialized...

 

Surprise from the rapids...

"What is that strange noise?" I thought, and suddenly from ten feet away, a merganser appeared from under a rock in the rapids with eight ducklings in tow- two hitching a ride on her back. It was apparent that she wanted to make a speedy getaway when she realized she would be passing so close to me, but being a good mom swam slowly enough that her offspring could follow. I have highlighted this special moment in my painting of the rapids, which I am now completing back at my studio!