by jeanne charters
remember well the first time I saw her. I had just moved to Asheville
and decided to check out the River District Artists Stroll in search
of a painting for my new home. I was tired and hadnt yet seen
a painting that I just had to have.
and I entered the big old warehouse at 170 Lyman Street. We were tired.
It was to be our last stop. We climbed the stairs and looked around
at the artists works. Then, we entered one last studio. The name
on the door said Marie Hudson.
was caught in a fulcrum of admiring people who swarmed around one tall,
slender figure in the center of the studio. As I approached her, she
turned and smiled at me. I felt somehow honored to have captured her
attention for even a moment. She was magneticbeautiful in a way
that Katherine Hepburn had been beautiful in late middle age
in that throw-away manner you must be born with to possess. She was
quite a dish!
I looked at the art. Holy Mother, this was it! The women in her paintings
were ethereal beings, somehow not of this earth or space. They flowed
and danced and flew on swings. They were beautiful and inspiring. I
knew I had found works of art I could live with and love all the days
of my life.
other artists in the warehouse call Maries paintings Goddess
of the Universe works. I have purchased two of Maries paintings
and she has become a lifetime friend to me. My daughter, Cori, from
California has also purchased two of her works
one for her home
and one for her office. Cori, gets Marie, just as I do;
and that makes me happy. That means I did a good job with my daughter.
was thrilled when Julie Parker asked me to interview Marie as our March
centerfold artist. Here are some insights I gained from this truly remarkable
woman artist. I often feel that we as artists spend so much time
on marketing ourselves, selling and playing artist that
we forget that, if we do the work as best we can, the rest will follow.
For the past year, I have been plagued by unexplained health problems.
My energy has been so limited that the time I have is focused totally
on my painting and my determination to get to my studio every day. Ironically,
the lack of promoting has worked in reverse. I have done exceptionally
well. In this warehouse, I am surrounded by these wonderful women artists
who are good friends, my family really. They are always there for me
you, thank you!!
asked Marie when she first knew she wanted to paint.
I remember this girl in grammar school who probably was born with an
innate talent to draw. I was in such awe and there was a hunger and
desire in me that started burning then and continues to this day. I
drew constantly and became fairly proficient
this was my life line.
Art classes were seldom offered. Occasionally, an innovative teacher
would throw in a few opportunities for us to express ourselves. A blue
ribbon for a silhouette of a palm tree with flowing colors of the sunset
was my first claim to fame! Oh, how I treasured that.
I graduated from high school, the choices were: become a secretary,
a nurse, a teacher, work at a dime store or get married. Guess what?
I got married. I was widowed at the ripe old age of 24. Two years later,
I married William who died in 2002. His daughter came to live with us
at the age of 13. I opened a gift shop at the Battery Park Hotel and
a second gift shop in what is now the Renaissance Hotel. This was the
early 80s. My life was taken up with family and business. But
I always continued to draw and paint.
this time, I started art classes at Warren Wilson College with Dusty
Benedict. I consider him my mentor and champion. Through him, I learned
to see things in a different way.
Next, I studied with Janie McWhirter, a former art professor at LSU
and Warren Wilson College. A group of her students got together and
helped her establish a school of Graduate level painting classes in
Swannanoa. Janie taught us all the rules of painting and then allowed
us to break each and every one of them. We learned to develop our own
way of expression.
the late 80s, I lost my lease on the gift shops. I knew then that
it was time to continue with my art as my profession or to just forget
about it. A friend and I came to this Warehouse and rented space from
Porge Buck who had established the first studio space in the river district.
I am still here.
never sold a painting for 10 years, so I laughingly say, I was
working on my PhD for those years.'
am often asked where I get my inspiration. I can only say that I paint
who I am
what I am
how I feel
causes and dreams. I never
manage to come up to my own expectations
that masterpiece that
will blow me away. So far, I havent gotten there; but I will keep
this studio, I am the Creator. I can go deep inside myself and be in
wonder at what I create because I can never fully explain where it came
from. This is as close to godliness as I can get. I am dedicated and
have a passion for what I do. I believe that art comes only from the
soul. It is not elitist. It is not always pretty. Often, it is a down
and dirty job. I have no patience with the a jug of wine and thou,
babe concept of art. It is 90% rejection, so one has to be dedicated
or nuts to stick with it
a little of both helps, I think. My desire
each day is to continue to paint
to never get stale or boring and
to encourage the ones who come after me to continue the search.
work is featured on:
is a former V.P. of Marketing for Viacom Television. She started her
own award-winning broadcast advertising agency in 1990. Jeanne lives
in Fairview with her husband, Matt Restivo. [ firstname.lastname@example.org;