Like mother, like daughter: Judy Tucci and Maria Hughes to exhibit at Caron Gallery

By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal

Mother and daughter Judy Tucci and Maria Hughes have plenty in common: They’re both painters inspired by the South. But the similarities stop there.
“Mine is usually places or people around here,” Tucci said about her watercolors and pastels. “I paint a lot en plein air.”
The South is Hughes’ inspiration, but she creates abstract art.
“It’s my idea of the South. It’s fields and tree groups and the fog in the morning and the way the sun hits it, and the way I hold it in my memory,” Hughes said. “But it’s all Southern.”
The two different styles are coming together for one exhibit, “Family Contrasts,” which opens tonight at the Caron Gallery in Tupelo.
In the same shades
The pair are also both art teachers: Hughes currently teaches at Booneville Middle School, while Tucci is retired from teaching drawing at Northeast Community College. In fact, Tucci taught Hughes a bit of art.
“I did have my mama as a teacher,” Hughes said.
“She put her make-up on in the back of my class,” Tucci said with a laugh.
But the pair came about art naturally.
As a child growing up in Baldwyn, Tucci saw her mother quilt and her father work with wood. She took art lessons from a traveling art teacher, and fell in love with being creative.
Under Tucci, Hughes grew up around art. Tucci took her daughter to art museums and gave her art books as a child.
Tucci believes Hughes’ more formal art education led her to be an abstract artist.
In fact, Hughes’ artwork can be seen from any angle. As she paints, she turns the canvas in a circle, which gives her the chance to see things in a new way.
Still, the two very different artists can see similarities in their work.
“It’s definitely a contrast, but I think our work goes together,” Tucci said.
“I think we use a lot of colors that are similar, because they’re colors in the South,” Hughes added. “The color choices and the South being home (are the similarities). I pick colors that remind me of my mom.”

Check it out
What: “Family Contrasts: A Mother Daughter Exhibit,” featuring the artwork of Judy Tucci and Maria Hughes opening reception

When: 6 p.m. today

Where: Caron Gallery, Tupelo

Cost: Free

Info: (662) 205-0351,

Extra: Scott Chism & the Better Half will perform at the exhibit’s opening reception tonight.
The exhibit will be up until Dec. 5.

Click video to hear audio