This is what Sunday’s are for

A little watercolour sketch before a long dog walk. A nephews birthday. Left over scones and clotted cream. Catch up tv. 

Enjoy yours. 

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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.

 

 

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!

 

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!

Go big or go home? Nah, just a small one for me please.

Sometimes my posts are written and scheduled in advance.  Otherwise I’d lose my mind.  Others are as-it-happens.  Real life.  This is one of the real life ones.

Probably I should make this into some sort of “10 ways to invigorate your creative soul” but I don’t have it in me today – perhaps another time.  Also, if I sound pretty miserable, please don’t worry – I’m not actually.  I just feel sort of like being quiet.  And compared to my gregarious self that is mostly on show, this quietness might come across as something else.  You’d think wanting to be quiet would mean not blogging, but I find writing sorts out the clutter of my mind in ways that talking doesn’t.

Also I’m tired.  Did I bore you all mention I have chronic insomnia?  I know I know, everybody has terrible sleep.  I don’t know how mine compares to everyone else’s, but when I say I don’t sleep, I don’t mean I only get 4 hours instead of the regulation 7.  I mean I often don’t get any, at all, for many nights in a row.  It got so bad a few years ago, I had to give up a job.  It’s a real shame, insomnia, it’s hard to resolve.

Anyway, that’s not what this post is about!  (though if anyone has any wonder tips, please feel free to sling’em my way).  This post is about these two:

Values - work in progress by artist Vicki Hutchins
apols for the shine on the left one

They look pretty good in black and white.  I like to take photos of my work like this to make sure the values are working.  And I can see that they are.  But in colour, it’s another story.

Cloudscapes in progress by Vicki Hutchins

 

These paintings are based on some hills near my home.  Well worth the hike, when you reach the top you have panoramic views towards Exmoor, Wales and Somerset beyond.

Now, they are work in progress. But I can’t decide if I love them or hate them.  Actually I just snapped my head up from the computer to look at them and I liked what I saw – this photo doesn’t really capture the colour too well either.  They’re more blue than violet.

These paintings are much larger than I normally paint – 12 x 12 inches.  Usually I paint small, between 5 x 5 inches up to perhaps 10 x 10 inches.  I have done the odd abstract that was 16 x 20 inches, but all my landscapes are small.  And I am so surprised and shocked at how hard I found it painting larger.  I have no idea how all you 30 x 36 inch people do it!

And so I’m frayed and feel run ragged by them!  And, I was also surprised at how much I fussed over detail.  I think over time I’ve got reasonably good at not getting tight, even though I paint small:  I paint on long handled brushes, I use a large brush,  I stand whilst I paint, mostly.  And so I can see very easily the whole painting.   With these pair, I fiddled about so much it threw me.  I didn’t enjoy it at all.  Though I used large long handled brushes, stood at the easel, I really felt on top of the painting.  I found it easier to get lost in it.  Has anyone ever experienced this with larger paintings?  I had it in my head that painting larger meant free-er movement and mark making….not so in my case folks!

It’s 4:30pm.  Which means I’m beginning to flag and it’s time to put the kettle on. Ciao.