Hello. It’s me.

That Adele is a bit of down to earth fun, isn’t she?  I think so.  

So.  I am popping in to say howdy, it’s been a while.  The eagle eyed may see I made some changes to my header and logo, but woefully, apart from this lament, there have been no new posts from me since last year.  The crime of all crimes for a blog.  

Often I’ve had a blog post in me over the last year – I have 18 drafts saved of me waffling in various degrees.  My big dilemma was, and still is – can I maintain a blog?  I’m not a natural at this social media game.  I wax and wane in my desire to communicate, which is not very helpful when you want to build a presence on the internets.

So I return to my blog remembering the main reason for it in the first place: this space is for me to spill out and order my thicket of thoughts.  Often my brain is has far too many tabs open.  But in between the seconds of thinking and typing, this mush of randomness forms into something more coherent.

Now I’ve decided:  I may post once a week.  Or once a month. Or, it might be snippets on a daily basis, instagram style.  It may be things you can relate to. Occasionally even useful.  Occasionally even humorous.

The big question is – what the bloody hell have I been doing for the last year then?  Well, I’ll tell you: art making, some good, some bad, learning, reading, getting on with living and children and dogs and houses.  And, closing in on what art I like to make, which is simpler, and includes surface pattern design.  Unfortunately, I can’t post as much surface pattern design work as much as I’d like, for various copyright reasons, but I try and share what I can.

Also, I may go on about gardening a lot.

 

 

Friday feels

I am approaching my 40th painting of the year so far.  And I’m not even on a challenge or anything.

I think it’s because I paint in a series.   Often I will have two panels on the easel at once, and work on the both.  I work quickly and don’t linger in any one place for too long.  Most of the time.

I always put painting before everything else: networking, admin, photographing, managing the shop, etc.  I don’t ever want to get caught up in non – painting stuff so that I forget how to paint.  Besides, the only way to get better is practice.

However, I’ve accumulated all these works that are sat around.  Hence the recent forays into framing (that’s going so well by the way, I can’t wait to show you!) so that I can release a collection of original art.

But, with all the running an art business requires – and I do see what I’m doing as an art business – I realise I’m not actually paying attention to the business side of things.  More than that, I’m ignoring them.

Admin I can do.  Spreadsheets, web sites (graduated in computer science about a million years ago, before the internet was a thing), yep, all over it.  But the marketing. Oh how I hate a hard sales pitch.  Or even an over enthusiastic one that’s insanely cheery.  It really creeps me out, I feel terribly self conscious, and this is the other reason I avoid taking care of my business.

However.  I do want to sell some art.  And it occurred to me, having done two paintings this week, that I could use some of my week to focus on this a bit more and get my shiz together.

So that’s what I’m doing.  Reading all the books, all the interwebs and try to get a handle of this thing and more to the point detach  myself from my art a bit.  I know I could sell someone else’s art and sleep at night, so why not my own?

So.  Wish me luck troopers.  I’m going in.

Oh, here’s some pretty I don’t think I posted here yet.  Have a lovely weekend everyone.

Roses by artist Vicki Hutchins
I painted this some time ago – just love this rose

 

Monday musings

After all, what else is there to do on Mondays, except muse.

I’m feeling very centred lately.  I think this is because of the amount of time I’ve spent outdoors.  Potting up plants, watering them, seeing the garden come to life in the sunshine has revived me I think.  I wasn’t aware I needed reviving – but I think being busy outdoors does that to a person.

I’m still loving the paintings I posted last week , which is a good thing, as often if I love something right away, I can quickly un-love it!

Sunday evening my husband and I headed up into the hills where we live. Its a designated area of outstanding natural beauty, with great 360 degree views.  Out of nowhere a large herd of wild horses stampeded past us into the sunset – it was like a western!

I’ve never been in such a state of awe and fear – it was just magical ! We didn’t linger though, as there wasn’t so much as a tree to hide behind if they took off again.

Today has been back to work:  spending a bit of time making frames for my upcoming release of original paintings (yeyyy!), sketching out some landscape compositions and even a spot of painting – all in the garden of course.

Landscape sketches - from the sketchbook of Vicki Hutchins
Landscape value studies.  The top two are fleeting glimpses of a view whilst travelling in the car, whilst the bottom two were more detailed because I walked the area, and took photos.  
On the easel - artist Vicki Hutchins
Cheats plein air!  Outside yes,  but painting from studies.  

Blame it on the sunshine

Since I injured essential body parts required for painting, I’ve really tried hard to keep making art any way I could, otherwise, y’know, the creativity fairy will fly off and grace someone else with her presence.

So for the first couple of weeks, I carried on.  Then last week, summer arrived.  It really did.  And I just wanted to sit in my garden, catch some rays, and think about tomatoes and sweet peas and pester my husband to cut the grass.

And here’s a thing:  I enjoyed not making art.  I enjoyed not being on Instagram and Facebook and Pinterest.  I enjoyed not blogging.

Blogging for me is how I order the chaos within.  Time to reflect, sometimes about something, often about nothing.  Being in the garden, pottering around, planting up window boxes…those things sort of replaced blogging – but not you all, my blogging gang!

Honestly, I feel like I’ve had a holiday last week.  And yesterday I really had that Monday back to work feeling!  Anyway.  I’ve spent some time catching up on domestic bores chores and had a little tidy in my studio, which sets me up for the next phase, whatever that is.  I haven’t quite decided!  But I have just purchased some acrylic inks.

In other news – injuries have suddenly taken a huge leap of recovery!  Hooray for that.  And framing some original pieces is still happening.  In fact, one of my jobs today, apart from saying hello to all of you, is to test a various shades of white paint for the frames. I limited it to four, otherwise I thought I might go insane.

Now to spend some time catching up with my wordpress feed and seeing how all the daily painting is going!

Studio of Somerset artist Vicki Hutchins
this is as tidy at the studio gets

A change of pace

Oh, today has been grand.

This morning I sat in the garden and had breakfast.  This is blog worthy, as it means we actually have the weather for it!  It wasn’t too hot, bit breezy, and lovely sunshine.

After, I surveyed the grounds.  Which took about 12 steps as my garden is postage stamp sized.  My very elderly wisteria is in full bloom.  It’s the purple variety, and it’s beautiful.  It’s one of my favourite flowers  (geek fact that just down the road in Devon there is the UK’s oldest wisteria.  It’s trunk is as twistedly beautiful as it’s blossom).

So I spent till lunch sketching and painting outside -and I used watercolour.  Mainly this was in homage to cyber buddies Laura and Margaret , who are taking part in a daily paint-a-thon, the main theme being to challenge yourself.

Well, I like watercolour, it just doesn’t like me.  Actually, this isn’t the worst watercolour I’ve ever done.  I thought it was the best medium to capture the delicate wisteria blossom.  Perhaps I should give it a go in oils too.

I have to be in the mood for flowers.  Most of the time I work loose, but very occasionally I have the urge to get involved in something more detailed, usually a drawing.  It provides a nice soothing pace to get lost in.  I love the act of looking when I draw in detail…I tend to look at shapes, particularly negative shapes to draw, and to me it’s like a satisfying jigsaw puzzle.

Afterwards, me and the man took the dog to the local lake for a nice stroll.  Bliss.

However, since then it’s gone down hill a bit.  Let’s just say it involves a small boy, a dentist appointment and too many biscuits, if there can be such a thing in an eleven year olds life.

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not loose, bit fussy, not really me

Artistic authenticity

Cherry2

Now, you know I’m a big fan of the Gram.

It’s to a great place to put your work out for the world to see.

What makes me kind of sad though, is when I see work out there of dubious origin.

I clicked on a post in my Instagram feed recently, thinking I’d missed a painting by one of my favourite artists. It certainly looked like her work, but it wasn’t.  When I say it looked like her work, I don’t mean I thought it looked like something she might paint: no, I thought she was reposting a previous painting.

Not only was this painting very similar (a landscape in oils), but the same person had also just posted work that looked almost identical to some new and very different work my favourite artist had recently released (abstract mixed media). Coincidence?

Looking further back through her feed, it wasn’t clear how she’d arrived at these paintings; not an evident evolving style, not a body of work. Just a few paintings early on that don’t appear to bear resemblance to their newer work.

Sometimes you do see artists with very similar aesthetics.  Usually there’ll be a particular series or point in time where their style will seem similar,  presumably in response to current trends. But there will be a solid body of work over a longer period of time that doesn’t resemble anyone’s art but their own, even if they are inspired and influenced by their favourite artists.

And my own Instagram feed does not tell the full story of my own artistic journey, because I tend to curate my feed, and I don’t want crap I painted two years ago hanging around.

But I do keep everything I painted. And my blog is a record of some of my process. It’s good to pull it all out sometimes and remember how far you’ve come.

I know that feeling, that longing to create good work, to get better. To be desperate to paint your vision.  I still feel that now!  When I was learning, I did copies of other artists work – and credited them properly.  There’s a couple of my Instagram feed, credited to David Atkins and Bob Rohm.

Studying and copying, yes, copying, are perfectly valid forms of learning, particularly for beginners.   Copying your favourite painting is brilliant for understanding decisions another artist made in terms of composition and colour.  Follow along tutorials are another form of copying, all great for getting you going.  And recently one of my IG friends (a brilliant painter) commented she was so frazzled she painted a study of one of her favourite artists,  so she could just paint and not worry about all the other stuff, so she could be soothed by the act of painting.  This is the beauty of art – that it can enrich people in ways other things can’t.

Then there is the baaaddd sort of copying.  Like the sort of thing I saw on Instagram, captioned not with “a study I did of blah blah blahs painting” , but just sort of passed off as their own with some trite ” just a little painting I did today!!!” in the comments.

There’s been a flurry of words around this on Instagram this week – check out Emily Jeffords, she puts this delicate issue across so well, not to berate people but to point out that in copying others, we deprive ourselves and our audience.

I agree.  And I also come back to this post I wrote a while ago after reading Ian Roberts.  No one can be original.  There is no such thing as originality – it’s all been done before.  But, authenticity.  That’s a different thing.

Authenticity does not come from being dazzled by what everyone else is doing on Instagram.  It is not to be found externally.

Authenticity comes from keeping records, journals, sketchbooks and observing.

It comes from making mistakes, exploring, playing, changing things up.

It comes from doing the work, not waiting for inspiration.

Authenticity comes from within. It is an internal process: listening to yourself.  Your fears, your hopes, your vulnerabilities. They will shape your art, along with your creative process. And this will give your work a truth that will shine through, and others will see what you see.  And you will be an artist.

 

Slips, trips and falls

 

Well. How ironic my last post was around my search for balance and being in the now.

On Tuesday, I tripped and fell badly, bashing up both knees but more catastrophically wrenching my shoulder – the painting shoulder!

Falling over when you’re past the age of 7 is just awful. Grown up bodies aren’t made for taking knocks like this! Well mine isn’t. The pain was so bad I almost puked on my garage floor. Too much info? Well let me tell you getting a bra on and off has been nigh on impossible since.

Thing is, when you hurt youself like this as an adult its such a big deal! It’s a bloody shock for a start. Which was why I needed cake and chocolate after. Medicinal.

Anyhoo. The whole thing certainly has stopped me in my tracks and made me focus on the now!  It’s amused me a little. What else has made me laugh a bit is my poor husband who, as you already know is the Patron Saint of husbandry, now has even more to do! If that is even possible.

So, what’s to do when your laid up? Thank Gods for Tim Berners Lee, as I’ve read all the web. Now I’m about to get on Pinterest so leave your username in the comments and I will look you up!

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this was painted pre – drama