After a year of taking high school art classes at Warsaw, Hudson states, “I was advised (by the teacher) to take PE because I had no talent and was wasting his time.” From there, Hudson notes, “I never really pursued it but I had a drive.”
It was while living in Idaho that Hudson got his start as a professional artist. Hudson says it started when he got snowed in at his ranch. “You can only watch so many M*A*S*H episodes, so I got out my sketchbooks,” Hudson explains.
When the blizzard ended, Hudson had taken in one of his sketches of a body builder to show a friend at his gym. The sketch ended up catching the attention of the gym owner who commissioned a mural. From there, Hudson states, he started receiving requests for portraits. “After two years, I quit my job and became a portrait artist,” says Hudson.
While living in Idaho, Hudson also developed a love for Western art through his rodeo hobby. Hudson says friends in the rodeo would also request drawings and that subject matter became a personal favorite.
Hudson did not start painting until 1994 and notes painting was a little challenging since he is slightly color blind. However, with help from a friend, he has learned what colors he cannot use and does not include them in his palette.
“Rembrandt and I both use a very similar color palette,” Hudson says.
Hudson moved to Mentone three years ago and was known by his reputation and his former art gallery in Winona Lake, which was open from 1999 to 2009.
“The (Mentone) chamber said they wanted a mural when they found the right wall,” Hudson explains. That wall became available after a gas station was torn down, at which time Hudson was commissioned to create a masterpiece.
The subject matter for the mural came from a 1892 picture, which features downtown buildings and a unique set of street lights, which had been designed by a local artisan of that time.
In the mural, Hudson added cows, noting local history and how they would push cattle through Mentone to get them to a former nearby stock yard. To incorporate his love of Western art, Hudson states, he took out Indiana brown cows and instead painted longhorns.
While working on the mural, Hudson has put up with the weather, leading him to joke that it’s his curse for it to rain every other day. He notes it was the same when he completed a mural in Akron. “They could have ended the drought sooner if they had started me earlier,” Hudson laughs.
While nothing is set in stone, Hudson might have further work in Mentone after the mural is completed. While creating the mural, Hudson originally had one longhorn out of the frame but had to paint over it because of Subway’s licensing needs. However, Hudson is now getting requests for the cow on life-size panels, which could mean the bovine would be showing up all over town if enough sponsors can be found.
“Cows might be all over town,” Hudson says. “Maybe even a few chickens, too.”