Beginnings

Just playing around, loving where this has gone so far.


dripping • wetting • swirling • waiting • scrubbing • scratching

Even in abstractedness, I always see the earth. 

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Monday musings

School is back. The house is quiet. And tidy. The summer is truly here and we are all melting. 

I’m waiting for a delivery of art supplies, including cradled panels, so I can start putting down the first stages of my Dartmoor series. 

In the meantime though I’ve enjoyed not rushing. Just spending   time doing a lot of thinking,  reading, and journaling what thoughts I have. 

In particular I’ve been paying attention to my preferences, artistically speaking. Really narrowing down what I enjoy looking at or doing is useful. Of course it might change- in fact, I expect it to. 

One of my challenges is to marry up approaches that are the opposite ends of the spectrum, and thinking about how I might utilise those things in my work more coherently. 

In the meantime these two have been trimmed and sent off for a fundraiser of postcard art.

Sometimes less is better

Hmm. Having spent the week gadding about painting every place I went, I’m not in inspiration overload.

This is one of those occasions where too much choice means a decision isn’t easily made.

Though I’m planning a series of Dartmoor paintings, I need to let my thoughts about how I approach that percolate for a bit.

So I settled on the other Exmouth beach painting I wanted to do. This was at the other end of the bay, further away from the setting sun, but equally mesmerising.

 

Exmouth at sundown by Vicki Hutchins
Exmouth at sun down, oil on canvas, 10 x 14″

May retrospective

It’s half term week here in the UK, so I’m on Mum duty pretty much full time, which is just the way I like it when school is out, as they grow up too quickly, and before you know it, they’re getting tattoos and eating junk.  That is an actual true story.

I’ve had so much I wanted to blog about in the last week or so – paintings to share, thoughts to ramble on about, but time ran away from me.  Plus the weather is so nice, we’re never indoors.

So I thought I’d do a round up of what went on over the last month, as I’m struggling to keep track of it all!

A big step for me was joining Somerset Art Works, which I kind of feel intimated by.  It’s a mark of my growing confidence I was able to do this.  This is a semi formal organisation that runs Open Studios once a year, and I hope in the future to be able to open up my studio.  Also, I want to meet some painting buddies!

I’m also considering entering an Open Exhibition, which closes for entries on 18th July, so I have a little time yet to avoid doing anything about this till the last minute.Ha!

I’m also donating two postcard paintings for a fundraiser – hope someone wants them!

I’ve also purchased a shopping trolley…..like your Nan used to have.  Yes.  I’ll have to name it, it’s quite an object.  It’s for carting about some plein air gear.

I’ve had a month of exploring with collage and claybord, and not as much time as I’d like with my sketchbook.

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Having already had a dabble with lino printing, I plan to use my contour drawings as a basis for prints.  I loved doing these!

Earlier in the month, I painted a series based on the pink blossom all over my local park.  Most of these are oil paintings, though some started life with acrylic.  I used lots of texture and scraping back with these.

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And I’ve also stared framing up some of my original work to release a summer collection!  This is a lot of work, but I’m so pleased with how it’s going.  Subscribers to my newsletter get first dibs at special prices before they get released into the wild.

Next up, I was so inspired by the rapeseed fields I had to paint them.  I used only three colours (burnt umber, cerulean blue and cad yellow medium) for all of these, and I think they work so well.

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The two with the palette knife are my postcard fundraisers.

Then, in an inspired moment, I dragged my plein air kit into the garden to paint the last light on my climbing hydrangea.  I loved doing this.  You can see progress shots on my Facebook page.

Climbing hydrangea - plein air painting by Vicki Hutchins
Climbing hydrangea and yellow watering can

There are composition issues with this (the placement and missing bottom of the watering can) but it was such fun I dragged my kit with me again when we took a trip to the beach on Sunday evening.

It was a beautiful afternoon, and I painted my socks off – but it was a whooooole bag of wrong.  This can happen to me sometimes, I become a slave to detail.  So yesterday I painted the sunset at the beach, where the memory of the light and the smell of sausages we cooked lingered.

Sunset at Exmouth by artist Vicki Hutchins
Last light at Exmouth beach

And I think that is it! So bear with me till school is back, where I’ll have more time to blog and say Hi!

 

Simplicity of form

I love painting, but I do like to get back to drawing every now and then.  Painting for me tends to be more energetic, whereas yesterday, feeling under the weather, I felt fit only for sofa art.

I’ve also been exploring lino printing.  I bought some supplies for my son and I to do over the Easter holidays, thinking it might be something he’d like (he did, but not as much as me).

I really love the effects of lino printing, and I like being practical, so the idea appealed to me.  I’m also drawn (see what I did there) to having a sort of secondary art discipline.  Something different, yet related

Being a painter with an expressive approach, I really want to spend a bit of time and thought exploring how I might use lino printing.  I can’t readily see how my painting style will lend itself to lino printing.  And, more importantly –

What is it I want to say with lino printing I can’t say with paint?

So I’m just taking my time, trying to tap into the part of myself that has a desire to lino print, and see if I can hear what it has to say.

Perhaps something like this?

Contour drawing by artist Vicki Hutchins
Contour drawing of freesias

 

Or this:

Contour drawing by Somerset artist Vicki Hutchins
Contour drawing of garden flowers in my favourite jug

I didn’t set out with lino print in mind when I drew these – I just wanted a change of pace from painting, but I think they might work.  I actually even love them just as straight line drawings.

I don’t often do this type of drawing, I tend to get value involved too, but it was really quite meditative focusing purely on form, a bit like doing a dot to dot!  Remember those?

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

 

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!