Hokey cokey

I LOVED that dance as a kid.  Especially the bit where you all join hands in a circle – the more of you the better – then all rush in to the middle, back and forth till the song ends.

This back and forth was my absolute favourite bit, even though you risked being crushed.  But I was never afraid.  My only feeling was joy and loving being swept into the middle by adults.  Carried forward and back not entirely under my own momentum.

That’s what making art is like for me.  Except….with less joy at the backward moving parts, especially the more time goes on.

I don’t know if this is an adult thing, or a me thing, but I do have expectations of results, rightly or wrongly.  I know we’re all meant to enjoy the doing, and I do, but I do think the end result matters, if only to reflect on whether or not you learned anything.  And ultimately we need to be able to judge our work for composition, balance, movement, value.

I have to work hard to accept the backward motion that it is part of the ebb and flow not just of art making, but of life.

Recently I’ve spent a lot of time exploring, both in approach and medium.  Trying to find my sweet spot, the place where I pull together all the particular elements I like and discard the things I don’t.  Sometimes it’s been fun, other times not so much!

But today I woke up and out of me came what I wanted at that moment.  And, for all the collage, and texture making, and scraping and graphite, I ended up right back where I started – with just me and the paint, which I loved, and, I love the results.

The paintings started life like this, some weeks ago:

Cloudscapes in progress by Vicki Hutchins
apols for the terrible quality – of photo and painting!

And I just wasn’t feeling it at all.  But I left them alone, parked them on my mantel and lived with them for a while, to see whether that changed.  It didn’t.

Meanwhile, I’m having fun with claybord, collage, mark making, mixed media.  Just for you Laura, here’s a close up of my last post:

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These little abstracts were based on the rapeseed fields in the hills near my home.  I saw the yellow in a magazine and thought it was perfect.  I’ve tried a few times to capture these hills at this time of year and never really achieved what I wanted, and though I enjoyed this process, it wasn’t quite what I was after either.

Then this morning I woke up and did these:

Rapeseed season on the Blackdown Hill by Somerset artist Vicki Hutchins


Rapeseed season on the Blackdown Hill II by Somerset artist Vicki Hutchins

It’s like I did reverse abstraction! It’s amused me rather, that I’ve gone all over the orchard (as we say in Somerset) to arrive back at the place I started!

But I haven’t though.  I don’t think I could have achieved this looseness of brush work and fresh palette without my explorations.

After all, it’s what the hokey cokey’s all about!


28 thoughts on “Hokey cokey

    • vickihutchinsartist May 13, 2016 / 8:28 pm

      Thank you! I love the colours too – I used a very limited palette (only three colours, cerulean, burnt umber and cad yellow medium, plus white), which is my favourite way to paint! Love the challenge.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Moon in Capricorn May 13, 2016 / 8:42 pm

        I’ve been learning about using limited palettes. It seems less really can be more 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • vickihutchinsartist May 13, 2016 / 9:49 pm

        Definately – when I’m in a rut or tired or fed up I love to take three colours and see what combination of mixes I can come up with, and I make swatches of them in a sketchbook. Colour geek!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Moon in Capricorn May 13, 2016 / 10:03 pm

        Excellent idea. As a beginner, I’m just now learning about paints and pigments, and I read recently that the biggest mistake newbies make is having too many colors. I’m trying to settle on 4 basics – a red, yellow, blue, and a green — plus neutrals — probably burnt sienna, Payne’s gray, and a white. If I can learn to work within that framework, I think it will help me build a solid foundation for watercolor. Now, I just have to decide which primaries and which green!

        Liked by 1 person

      • vickihutchinsartist May 13, 2016 / 10:19 pm

        I have a post somewhere on my blog about colour theory and some resources. When I started, I used red, yellow and blue (plus white), but I used a warm and cool of each. So red: cadmium red medium (warm), alizarin crimson (cool), blue: ultramarine (warm) cerulean (cool) , yellow: lemon yellow (cool) and cadmium yellow medium (warm). Plus I added earth colours burnt sienna and yellow ochre, as I paint landscapes. But with a warm and cool of each primary, you can mix every colour you’ll ever need, I promise. There are different warms and cools of each colour of course, but these are the most common. My one tip is put aside your green tube, and spend a happy afternoon using your two blues and two yellows in varying amounts, along with white, and you will make the most amazing greens. And use your reds to add to the green mix, just a dot, and see what happens!
        So sorry if this is too much information – I love colour!


      • Moon in Capricorn May 13, 2016 / 10:25 pm

        This is exactly the information I’ve been trying to compile! I’ve been reading every paint and pigment site I can find, going through my watercolor books, and trying to put together a list of warm and cool primaries. I can’t thank you enough for sharing this! I can definitely do without green, too. You’ll see a couple posts coming up over the next few days telling about my frustrations with “demon green”. I’m going to put a palette together with your color suggestions and I’ll probably also add in Payne’s Gray. For some reason it’s become a real favorite of mine. I really appreciate this, Vicki. You’ve helped me so much!

        Liked by 1 person

      • vickihutchinsartist May 13, 2016 / 11:20 pm

        I’m so glad! I would add though that I work in mainly oil, sometimes acrylic, and hardly ever water colour! In theory (I’m guessing) pigment is pigment, it’s just whether it’s bound in gum, polymer or linseed….but I have to say I don’t enjoy mixing watercolours too much as they granulate and seperate too much for my liking. My frustration is more around my own lack of skill with watercolour you understand! You might find this too, and wonder if you’re doing something wrong, which is why I mention it….but if you’re of a patient relaxed temperament you might appreciate that granulation and separation are beautiful qualities of watercolour! Good luck!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Moon in Capricorn May 14, 2016 / 4:15 am

        Watercolor is teaching me patience LOL. I’m also starting to work a little with acrylics, and eventually I’ll give oil paints a try, too. I’m exploring a lot of different pathways on this artistic journey.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Moon in Capricorn May 13, 2016 / 10:03 pm

        I appreciate the follow. Please feel free to jump in with any advice or suggestions. I’m enjoying my art journey, and I’m eager to learn all I can.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Laura (Createarteveryday) May 13, 2016 / 5:28 pm

    Vicki, this is absolutely beautifully transportive and wonderful. I love everything about it. Is it acrylic? Wow, seriously. Now I’m trying to pick a favorite. It’s a really hard choice. I’m leaning toward the slightly darker one because of the drama it’s creating, but I’m also loving the light one with the sun shining on that bright green patch! That one is like a lovely fantasy of the UK, a place that is on my bucket list of places to visit! I also agree with Moon above re: the skies. WOW just love them both and this is such a peaceful, wonderfully rejuvenating picture to just gaze at. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • vickihutchinsartist May 13, 2016 / 8:32 pm

      Ah, you’re very kind Laura. The photographs aren’t very good. I really struggle with the quality when I upload them to wordpress.
      Actually these are oil. I do use acrylic sometimes, it depends on what I’m doing. Overall I prefer oils, as I can achieve what I want with them – mostly! Thank you so much for your lovely comments and have a great weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Laura (Createarteveryday) May 13, 2016 / 11:37 pm

        Oh, but I truly mean it. I really love them. I’m seeing so much beautiful oil work, but I can’t add yet another medium to my already overflowing plate just yet lol. I really love your work, Vicki. It should be all over the world, it’s that good! ❤


  2. REcreate-RebeccaEvansCreate May 13, 2016 / 8:34 pm

    Now that has to be one of the best analogy in a long time, with the addition of a self journey, ending perfectly….oh the Hokey Cokey right arm in right arm out…..shake it all about….that’s what it’s all about, yay! Genius

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Margaret Parker Brown May 13, 2016 / 10:06 pm

    Vicki……these are phenomenal, the upswept skies on both give you a sense of an opening up of the landscape, inviting you in to explore. So funny how we artists think that we have to go further, better, abstract, realistic…..reaching….reaching…..doing it over….fretting and yet, here I read what you wrote and I see that you are narrowing it in. Sometimes I think we make it so elusive when it is right there all the time, just waiting for us to discover it. 🙂 does that make sense? I find that I am cranking it….pushing and prodding and praying and hoping and then….it is there all the time, all I have to do is wipe away the fog. I know I am getting philosophical but I can’t help it. What is it that we artists really want? I want to know! lol alright I’ll stop….in short…I love your paintings!

    Liked by 1 person

    • vickihutchinsartist May 13, 2016 / 10:23 pm

      Ha, I know exactly what you mean Margaret, I feel like I’ve gone full circle. Perhaps I thought I needed to be more abstract, edge-y, cool, I don’t know. Thing is, my style very much depends on my mood! Thank you for your kind words – I am so happy with them….though whether this will remain the case in a month who knows! I am fickle!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. mulambo28 May 14, 2016 / 1:07 am

    I really enjoy the finished paintings, but I really like the moodiness of the unfinished paintings. I’m weird. Sometimes I fall for unfinished paintings. It’s something gritty and raw that can be so intriguing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • vickihutchinsartist May 14, 2016 / 9:02 am

      I know what you mean! I often prefer my works at the early stages…and there’s the struggle: to keep those fresh qualities to the end!

      Liked by 1 person

      • mulambo28 May 14, 2016 / 1:55 pm

        I haven’t been able to preserve those qualities in my own work. I sometimes leave a painting for a long time because I can’t bear to finish it. I think I’m going to experiment in the future with trying to achieve those qualities in an end painting.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Art and Soul Space May 14, 2016 / 4:16 am

    Love these artworks, Vicki, and your comparison of creative ebbs and flows with the momentum of the group dance.

    Liked by 1 person

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