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

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

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

 

Monday musings

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Balance. All my life I’ve sought this elusive state.

I don’t mean mentally (ok, perhaps sometimes I mean mentally), I mean balance in being. Balance in how I spend my days: achieving an amount of everything required in order to feel nourished and whole in my life.

For someone that has a bit of an “all or nothing” approach to the activities I choose to pursue, I think I’m remarkably level headed in a general sense. Well I would say that wouldn’t I?!

I’m ruminating on my balancing act, as I often have enormous guilt over my single mindedness when I’m creating art, which is most days. Chores, cooking, and family life often take a back seat.

On a practical level, my husband is made of stellar stuff: he cooks, he cleans, he supports the household and me so I can pursue my ambition. All whilst holding down a  successful career of his own! I often wonder how he achieves this balance. He gets stuff done, and seems to be able to switch effortlessly between tasks, and domestic life. I’ve asked him, of course. He doesn’t really know, he just does what needs doing.

Whereas I find it a terrible wrench to leave a painting and disrupt my flow to cook a meal or walk the dog.

This last week has been more balanced than usual, and it’s been lovely. Sunny days with family, walks in unfamiliar places.

Yet as Monday comes around I know the minute I step into my groove, the cycle will begin again – the flow of my creative life will carry me far from shore. Like an unsuspecting tourist bobbing around in an inflatable on unfamiliar currents, I’ll eventually look up and have no idea how I drifted so far from the beach!

Easel snapshot

I’m going through an intense time of discovery and exploration with my art work at the moment.  It’s all I talk about (see here ).

As an emerging artist, I know I can sort of get away with swapping styles, playing around with different mediums and generally finding my way.  I suppose what I’m worried about is that I read an article that mentioned when you start selling your art work, you should really have a recognisable style.

I already sell my art work.  People like it and buy it. But I don’t want to appear scatter gun in my approach,  yet I need to go through this exploration.  And actually, I’m sure that being the sort of person I am, I’ll always want to try something new.

This is how my easel looked today.  Three canvases in varying states of abstraction and finish, painted in oils with the same palette. One of them I know I love, the other two the jury is out.

Easel_snapshot
Not pretty enough for Instagram, but real life, peoples.  

 

Then I have four postcard size acrylics on water colour paper.  Again, they all share the same colour palette, but they vary in composition, and they were the result of an exploration I did (post coming soon on that).  I love pretty much all of them, and I loved doing them.

And neither of these sets of paintings are like my other work.

This perception I have, of “considered” exploration, is beginning to weigh me down a bit. I just don’t want to put my stake in the ground regarding style, and I’m not sure that I ever will.

My husband (I should listen to him more), said perhaps I should set myself an exploration project for the next three months.  Rather than trying everything in the hope that I find my “thing”, just focus on something and stick with it for a pre-determined length of time.  I do like this idea.  But what if I find it leads me down rabbit holes and a totally different direction again?  What if I never fully explore what I set out to?

Why am I struggling with this!  Arghghg!