Artists show off paintings at Equutour 2011

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 2, 2011

By Sarah Campbell
SALISBURY — Growing up in Buffalo, New York, Leslie Hudson-Tolles longed to ride horses.
“In the city we couldn’t have horses, so I drew them,” she said.
Adele Goodman had a different childhood experience, growing up on a farm in Rowan County and always having access to the animals.
The two Rowan County artists recently joined forces to host Equutour 2011, a traveling art exhibit centered on horses.
“It’s been a great blending,” Hudson-Tolles said. “We both own horses and we both still ride.”
The pair met several years ago after Goodman read an article about Hudson-Tolles in the Post.
“Everybody I knew said, ‘You have to meet this woman,’ ” Goodman said.
Goodman had studied art at East Carolina University, but put her work to the side, focusing on her career as an executive assistant with Penske Racing in Mooresville.
“I had stopped for a while and wanted to study with somebody that is a really strong equine artist,” she said.
After reading the article, Goodman realized Hudson-Tolles, a nationally recognized equine artist, was that person.
“I started studying with her one-on-one,” Goodman said. “Leslie’s didn’t teach me how to paint, she taught me tricks to get better and better.”
The pair decided to launch the Equutour after hosting an “Equine Expressions,” exhibit in Connecticut last July.
“It did so well that we decided we needed to do a show in North Carolina,” Goodman said. “There is a huge horse community in North Carolina, there are hundreds of horse farms throughout the state.”
The Equutour kicked off in Salisbury over the weekend at Cauble Creek Vineyard and Winery.
The pair decided to host the first show at Cauble Creek to support the local economy.
“I wanted to get people out here to support the vineyard and taste some great southern sweet wine,” Goodman said.
Anita Yost, co-owner of Cauble Creek, said when the women presented the idea she jumped on board.
“They sold us on the idea and gave us the confidence to pull it off,” she said.
Yost said the Equutour is the first exhibit at the vineyard, but it won’t be the last.
“We actually are looking at something for the fall,” she said. “We’re going to do an invitational and try to make contact with local artists.”
About 200 people viewed the exhibit between Friday and Sunday, according to Yost.
“Most everyone that came by enjoyed it,” she said. “Their talent is unbelievable, we’re were happy to have them here.”
The 40-piece show includes pastel paintings, sketches, sculptures and a variety of other mediums.
“Even people who don’t have horses or aren’t into horses can still connect with these pieces,” Goodman said.
Hudson-Tolles works with colored pencils, graphite and pastels, while Goodman sticks strictly to pastels.
While working on pieces for the show, Hudson-Tolles was inspired by many horses in Kentucky.
“It’s about capturing the character of the horses,” she said. “It’s all about those tiny little differences.
“I try to give the viewer a different view, an insight into the character because they speak to me.”
Much of Goodman’s inspiration came from the Piedmont area.
One of the paintings in the exhibit is of her late horse “Princess,” in which she captures her red eyelashes.
“That’s the kind of little detail that makes a painting,” she said.
Both artists use photographs to complete their projects, but neither ever settles for just snapping a photo.
“Paintings are so much better than a photograph,” Goodman said. “They’re softer, more real, artists put a lot of heart, soul and personality into them.”
Olive Mekeback of Mooresville admired Goodman’s work Sunday.
“It’s beautiful, she does marvelous work,” she said. “The detail is incredible. You feel like you should be able to touch it.”
The exhibit will make its second stop from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Village of Pinehurst’s Historic Fair Barn during the Dressage in the Sandhills Event, 200 Beulah Hill Road South, Pinehurst.
The exhibit finishes its tour May 14-22 at Sanders Ridge Vineyard, 3200 Round Hill Road in Boonville, open 10 am. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and Sunday 1 to 6 p.m. A reception will be held from 3 to 6 p.m. May 22.
Hudson-Tolles hosts classes at her home studio from 9 a.m. to noon every other Saturday. To find out more, e-mail her at
Find out more about Hudson-Tolles at and Goodman at
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.