Angela Herbert Hodges

by Dana Kester-McCabe

Angela Herbert Hodges pours her love for the environment and endangered African wildlife into emotionally charged water color paintings and collages. I visited her at the end of summer when you can still here the cicadas serenading us from outside her studio.

Angela took up painting while living in Zimbabwe. She painted on her own and then took some lessons when she moved to the United States. When she frits began to paint she painted just what she saw. Now she paints things that she has though a lot about including a series based on a photograph of her walking with her sister and sister in-law. Africa and its’ amazing elephants, giraffes, and rhinoceroses are common subjects she comes back to again and again.

Angela says she uses collage when she is trying to achieve a stronger image than watercolor can convey. The collage series she is working on now was inspired by the Delmarva landscape and water, the environment, and pollution. She is inspired by its color and wants to reflect on our human effect on it.

Angela uses photographs as inspiration or starting points but her approach to both the paintings and the collages is rooted in her emotional response to the subject matter. In both you can see the transparent layering of the watercolors. You can recognize the figurative elements, the people, and the animals. But Angela also adds words and textures which gives the works an abstract graphic quality. The colors are partly true to nature but she adds areas of more expressive color to emphasize emotional context. Her creative process is based on what she wants to express not on market influences.

She says she used to notice that art collectors from D.C. would come to Berlin to purchase her art at the Globe, and when she was showing her work in Annapolis residents of Salisbury traveled there to purchase fine art. Angela says that being an artist requires learning not to take rejection personally. She likes to encourage other artists because she says there is a great need for original art that cannot be satisfied by prints though they have their place as well.

Besides being an artist Angela is a classically trained Cordon Bleu chef with a freelance catering business, and a fencing coach with the Salisbury Fencing Club. Angela has several pieces and in fact a number of series underway at the same time. She says she finally figured out that this was simply a reflection of the way she lives her life. She has three separate careers. These have simply always been a part of her life. Cooking was a way to make a living and her father introduced her to fencing.

All three have a creative component to them. Painting and cooking are fairly obvious but even fencing requires creative thinking: tailoring the lesson to the individual to help them have a good experience and achieve their goals.

I asked Angela if she had a signature dish and why she kept coming back to painting. She says she does not but that she has been doing this for a long time and can cook almost anything including a recent request to create a special dish from Tanzania which she had to look up on YouTube. She says that being a painter is a part of who she is and that she simply loves doing it. She says that all her work is based on personal experience. She does not consider herself an intellectual artist. Her work is based on her emotions and the most successful pieces convey that.

Angela recently had a one woman show at the Art Institute & Gallery in Salisbury which was part the prize for winning best in show at their Mid Atlantic Regional juried competition last year. You can find out more about her work at