A creative process

Though much of my surface pattern design work involves a computer and software, I like the art work itself to start off in the normal way – by hand. 

For a while I’ve been interested to see how a Lino carving could translate to a pattern. And I also had a gap in my knowledge about how to put together pattern repeats. In particular I wanted to create a half drop pattern, which is very commonly used as it’s the most pleasing to the eye. 

So here’s how this particular process went:

The original drawing, inspired by a gorgeous little wren who visits my garden most evenings at dusk, he seems to especially like the clematis montana. 

 

And during carving, having been transferred to a block: 


And, after several hours at the computer huffing and puffing and generally getting cross, re-doing my calculations, I finally get a seamless matching repeat pattern.


What I love about this is how a single rectangle Lino block can give such movement and rhythm to a pattern. And I love the simplicity of white on Wedgwood blue. Monochromatic colour schemes have such impact I think. 

I actually did around 12 colour ways for this, but here are my favourites 



Generally I like more muted colours. Overly saturated colours look like they’re straight out of the tube (my pet peeve in painting). However, this yellow, so rich and bright and summery would make a lovely tea towel I think. 

Friday florals

Over on Instagram I’m taking part in the 100 day project. 

Essentially you commit to something (anything, but it tends to be creative or nourishing in some way) for 100 days and post evidence of it. 
My project is 100 days of motifs. I thought this would tie in nicely with my surface pattern design work. I really wanted to establish the habit of drawing every day, and experimenting with what objects around me could be interesting motifs.  

Drawing every day is no hardship, I find I get tetchy if I can’t, and I’ve no shortage of motifs…but, they’re all flowers.  All of ’em! 

Whilst flora is clearly what I’m drawn to, I need to stretch myself and start using my eyes more to look for alternative motifs – ultimately I need a varied portfolio that shows I can be diverse in skills and vision.  Having said that, here’s today’s offering: 


Garden pickings in gouache.

Have a fabulous Friday folks and a great weekend. 

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.

 

 

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?

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

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.