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

 

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!

Sometimes they just paint themselves

Abstract Somerset Landscapes by Vicki Hutchins

Sometimes, very occasionally, something magical happens.  From your brushes, from the sweep of your palette knife, emerges something so nice, you wonder if you’ll ever be able to top it (actually I already know this, since I painted again since, and produced utter tripe).

You can’t win ’em all, but you can  bask in what it felt like when all the planets aligned and somehow you made good art.

And it’s not that these paintings are perfect.  But when I painted these it was like I was merely holding the brushes.  A human conduit.  Perhaps I got out of my own way for a change!

Sunset on the Somerset Levels

Somerset Levels sketch in gouache & pastel by Vicki Hutchins

I had one of those perfect days recently, where you’ve only been out for the day but feel like you’ve had a holiday.

On the journey home across the Somerset Levels, there was the most amazing sunset.  I did my best to capture it in my sketchbook from the back of the car, scenery whizzing by.

What I couldn’t capture were the flocks of egrets majestically and slowly flapping their huge wings across the sky.  There were geese, swans, buzzards, sparrow hawks.  Even deer.  They must have had soggy feet.

The Levels are a haven for wildlife, and are an integral part of the Somerset countryside.  They do flood, as they have done for hundreds of years.  This flat huge expanse is hemmed in by the Mendip Hills to the north, and the Blackdowns and Quantocks to the south. The mist of early morning and dusk lingers longer here.   It’s a place of myth, legend, and times past.  It is beautiful.

The next morning, the memory of that place still imbibed me, so in pyjamas (when all the best painting happens), I quickly got down a sketch in gouache and pastel (see above).

Somerset Levels sketch - detail
Close up – love the texture of pastel and layers of gouache, yummy!

I do love this sketch, however it’s rather high key, whereas in reality, it was actual much darker, particularly the land.  It’s not often I paint the same painting more than once, but on this occasion I did a quick oil sketch on a piece of board I had that I though would be a good format.  It’s different, but I like it.

Somerset Levels oil sketchl by Vicki Hutchins

It’s cooler than I intended, but captures the light more accurately I think.

I don’t think I’m going to work this up into a final piece though.  Sometimes I like to make art just to journal my daily life.  I never was any good at keeping a diary, but I love keeping a visual reminder so that,although for the most part, and like most people, my life is ordinary – there are these little vistas of the extraordinary.