What was your route into working as an artist?
I was art school trained in graphic design and made my living as a designer working in both the UK and abroad.
You have a strong design background can you explain how this background influences your work?
My design background influences my work today in terms of composition, colour and drama.
Your paintings are expressionistic and textual in treatment. Please can you explain the techniques that you use to create the texture in your work?
Having worked on acrylic paintings, pastel paintings and pen and ink drawings, I have more recently been experimenting with oils and cold wax medium with acrylic inks, oil pastels, dry pigment and charcoal also coming into the mix. All these mixed media paintings are scratched, scraped and pulled into place to allow me to express the essence of a scene and as a result are extremely textural and tactile.
How important is the initial composition in creating a visually strong work?
Again, with my design background, the initial composition is vital to me as the building blocks or skeleton from which to hang the rest of the painting.
Can you tell us more about how the North Devon landscape has influenced your practice?
Having moved to beautiful North Devon, I obviously enjoy painting the environment around me – both the landscapes and seascapes, but in my work, I also use a variety of found elements – from seaweed and sand to grasses and flotsam. Even local pigments found in the rock strata!
What theme or subject do you enjoy painting the most and why?
I have no particular preference. I will happily paint portraits, landscapes, or seascapes – my criteria is that the subject matter must allow me to interpret it in a powerful and colour-rich way.
Does narrative play an important role in your work?
Sometimes, I relish telling a story or hinting at ‘something going down’ – and this will invariably mean including the human figure or figures in the painting.
The majority of your work is mixed media. What are the benefits of this medium to your work?
As I explained above, I am interested in achieving high levels of texture, colour and depth. I find that the more media and layers I can build into a picture, the better the outcome.
Your work ‘Winters Walk’ is incredibly atmospheric transporting the viewer immediately back to a wet winters day. Can you explain more about how you created mood and built texture in this work?
‘Winters Walk’ was one of the first paintings on which I started using mixed media in layers. The base and most important layer was acrylic, applied thickly with a palette knife, giving a texture somewhat akin to ploughed fields. More detail was brought to the picture with oil pastels, which create their own unique texture and then acrylic inks to give the impression of foliage. Scratching back through these layers provided even finer detail for directional grasses. And, of course, the muted colour palette of dreary browns and depressed greens helps express the atmosphere.
My husband hates this picture as it reminds him of walking the dog through wet, thick clay in cold and misty conditions. To elicit such a response, I feel, is ameasure of its success.
Your work ‘Swanning Around’ makes use of a bold and dramatic colour palette of contrasting blues and reds to great effect. Can you tell us more about this use of bold colours to create drama in your work?
Well, that’s the designer in me, I suppose! Essentially, it’s a simple image of swans on water, brought graphically to life by simplifying and exaggerating the contrast between the whiteness of the swans, the redness of their bills and the intense blue of the water.
See more of Pam’s work https://www.artgallerysw.co.uk/vendor/pam-hutchings/