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.

 

 

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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

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!

The Instagram connection

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Well, this graphic is a little dramatic but I liked how it sounded!

It’s Friday night, I have a toothache, a ton of stuff to do and really all I want to do it have someone cook me dinner and bring me a glass of wine.  Oh wait. Someone is cooking me dinner. My man really takes care of me, and in case you think I don’t know it, believe me, I do.

 

I love Instagram.   I’ve mentioned it before here.  But, I just have something I need to get off my chest.

My approach to following accounts on Instagram is this:  I proactively follow people I am genuinely interested in.  Yes, mostly they are other artists, but I also follow people who’s feed show me things I wouldn’t otherwise see – pictures of glaciers, cute puppies, the snow in Boston last year, the view from a hilltop in Cheshire, the mountains of Estonia.

I never start following someone unless I like what they are posting, for it’s own sake.  And I don’t expect a follow in return (okay, that’s a lie.  There’s an exception to this, which I’ll explain later).Of course some followers aren’t going to follow you back.  Like National Geographic.  Why would they? And I don’t take it personally.

However, I do generally follow back most people that follow me first, unless I really dislike their feed (spammy, porny or just… not awful, but not my cup of tea either). And I kind of like that – I don’t mind reciprocating the follow, and I’ve met some fabulous people that way that I otherwise may never have come across.  After all, we’re all there for the same purpose:  to promote ourselves and what we do.

So that’s my two pronged approach – a proactive follow and a reactive follow, both equally valued.

Then there is this:  those people who spend their energy following random accounts they have no interest in, other than to garner a potential follower in you.  They might even comment and like posts.  They follow you.  You like their feed and follow back….and then they promptly unfollow you. It’s like they don’t know there’s an app that tells you who unfollowed you.  What sort of networking is this?  It seems so misguided to me.  And shallow.  I imagine in real life these people either used to sell used cars or mobile phones and wore shiny suits.

I’ve no problem with people changing their minds: sometimes you follow someone and after a while you find their feed is not for you.

Then there are other folk, who you kind of think might follow you back:  they have a similar number of followers, they make art too, so you have something in common.  And if they’re local to my region – well that just makes me so happy!  So I follow them for two reasons – one because I like what I see in their feed, but also because they’re local.  And I hope they follow me back, because who knows, one day we might bump into one another at some event or other, eh?  And then they don’t.  There is silence.

And this, I realise is the problem.  Whilst I have no shame in saying yup, too right I’m on Instagram trying to promote my work ultimately and grow an interested audience, I’m also looking for meaningful connections.  And I have found them with some folk – you know who you are 🙂

It’s this game of Instagram I don’t like.  This is where, sometimes, the veneer slips, the disingenuous stands out and it all looks rather self serving and meaningless.

Besides, I really can’t quite believe folk would want a quantity of followers over quality of followers.

Christ my toothache really has put me in a bad mood!  Time to chill and stop brooding.  Cheers!

 

Ok, I’m back

Now I’m feeling better suddenly I have focus (did I bore you with mention I get ill a lot).  Hmmm, so lots of catching up to do – meant to be opening a print shop for hecks sake.  I not expecting a rush of sales, I mean I know the world will keep turning without my art being up for sale, but none of its going to get sold sat in great piles all over my studio either.  So I need to get moving.

 

I’ve cracked open the acrylics lately.  Mainly because I can’t resist buying the bloody stuff in pretty colours.  Usually I get it out and am all “Ewww, this stuff is so plasticky, pass me the oils”.

A funny thing:  I have an uncanny knack of being to mix whatever colour I want from a very limited palette.  I love the challenge of being able to recreate a blob of paint colour that exactly matches something else  in the world.  I know artists are meant to be able to do this stuff, but it’s one of the things I pride myself on, mainly because I found it so easy and could do it with little practice (unlike drawing or actual painting).  And yet, I cannot resist buying up all the teal, all the geranium rose, especially in acrylic, which I hardly use……what’s that all about?  Ha!

I digress.  Anway, I opened the tubes mixed up a gorgeous colour palette of teals, buff and pale dusky lilac.  And because I can’t bear to waste paint, and, more amazingly I managed to keep it wet and workable for aaaages, I got three paintings out of it, all abstract.  Two of ’em I posted already here and here.  This is the last.  And the best I think.  I’m really happy with this – abstraction does not come naturally to me at all.  I have to work really hard and try not to work from any reference otherwise I get all confused and fussy with my mark making.

I use a combination of brush, fingers and my trusty range of painting knives, and I LOVE the texture that gives when dragged over canvas, and to get going I tone the canvas first then use hard pastel to create some marks and divide the canvas up.  Interestingly, I usually have drawn some circles with the pastel at this stage, with good intention to have them in the final piece, but I’ve not yet managed to keep them.

I feel like I want to explore texture more and more, am even considering splodging on some extra gesso for texture beforehand (and usually I’m too impatient for that sort of thing.

This one was painted whilst listening to the selected works of Solomon Grey.  Do not deprive your ears of this music if you haven’t already heard it. I like painting abstracts to music – it sets the mood.

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Porthminster, acrylic on canvas, 7 x 7

I know how love works

I am lucky enough to be married to someone I not only love, but actually like.  He is pretty much the bees knees, the dogs doodahs in my book.  

Over the years, he has shamed me by persisting in this commercial shenanigans of buying me a Valentines card (shenanigans unless I decide to sell Valentines cards in the future.  Then I’m just an artist trying to earn a few pennies.  Don’t judge me).

I don’t need a Valentines card.  I know every single day how he feels about me even with the all the nagging.  But I did begin to feel bad that I forgot (genuinely – what can I say, our love blooms all year round) to get him one in return.  Now I’m much better at remembering to get him a card, and this year I got him his favourite chocolates too.  He bought me gorgeous warm red roses.

And guess how we spent our Valentines?  I painted the flowers whilst he cleaned the bathrooms. This almost beats the year we took time off from our jobs for our anniversary – and painted the house.  Yeah, as I say, our love blooms all year round.  What a keeper.

Valentines
apols for the crappy quality – the light was fading fast!  Valentine roses, oil on paper.