Saving face

Artist Anne Hudec is fascinated by the faces she sees in stone

Watercolour artist Anne Hudec

Anne Hudec is all artist, part historian.

She began painting as a child, but lost interest after she left school and “life took over.”

When her mother-in-law Hella Hudec gave her a nudge in the late 90s, Hudec again picked up a brush, but it wasn’t until she asked her husband Alvin, to teach her photography that her life as an artist began to take shape.

“It’s like when you’re eating a really good ice cream cone and you’ve taken the first few licks and it suddenly falls on the ground. You just started enjoying it and suddenly it’s gone,” she says. “Photography is like that to me, it’s instant gratification. But I wanted to take apart the photo and be able to enjoy it longer.”

She and her husband travel extensively, visiting Europe and Asia on a regular basis. It was in Germany and Austria where she first became enamored with statuary, taking numerous photographs and recreating them at home in her studio with water colour.

 

“I became fascinated. … They are part of the urban landscape in parts of Europe and people just walk by them with no recognition or thought of their beauty,” she says.

The statues she paints are between 100 and 150 years old, and she will occasionally revisit one just to find it no longer exists. “They’re stolen for their metal content. Statues worth millions are melted down for 20,000 Euros.”

The statues show human emotions as well as the wear of time. “Their age is part of their beauty,” Hudec says.

She works from her photographs until she achieves a certain point, then puts the photos away and works more intuitively. She takes as much as 150 hours to create the lifelike water colour images, capturing the patina of time and the nuances of shadow and light.

“It’s a constant rollercoaster ride all through the painting. It’s like raising a child. The teen years, you are struggling and are out of sync and some days you’re ready to throw in the towel. Then everything begins to come together,” she says.

“With water colour it’s a difficult thing to push and pull paint because what you’re doing is having to lift paint off and smooth edges, or use cool and warm colours to cause parts of the face to recede. But that’s the joy of it, the process, that’s the enjoyable part. That’s maybe why I spend so much time on them,” she says with a laugh.

Learn more about Anne Hudec’s work at annehudec.com.

 

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