Artist Yvonne Hutchcraft’s Folkestone paintings
- Credit: Archant
There’s humour galore in the artist’s cameos of Folkestone life
Yvonne’s studio is a miracle of space organisation in one corner of her lounge in her flat in the centre of Folkestone.
She has been here for six years and thoroughly enjoys it. “I love to be near the sea and just 10 minutes from the countryside without sitting in traffic wherever you go. And I’m right in the middle of the Creative Quarter with all the local coffee shops and bars and there is always something going on.”
Yvonne spent many years in Wales, where she was encouraged to paint by a friend, initially enrolling onto a full-time course as a mature student, which she loved as she was able to experiment with all mediums.
Adamant about the usefulness of formal art training, as “you pick up techniques and see how different people tackle things,” for her own part, she was often told she worked tongue in cheek, as she always liked to see the humour in things.
This is very evident in the canvases on show in her studio, which she describes as naive, while others have called it Lowry-esque. Her own art heroes are Toulouse Lautrec and the fantastic Joseph Wright of Derby, whose use of light was exemplary.
Yvonne starts her canvases with a background scene and then builds up with the figures and the theme of the work. “Sometimes I look at a canvas for days and then suddenly something clicks. I love humour and colour.”
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She has completed many commissions, which include personalised birthday cards for people, as well as wedding memorabilia. “People tend to like the paintings with little people”.
Yvonne paints mainly on canvas, because of the ease of stacking and also that they are lightweight – both highly practical considerations. She adds: “I use acrylic as it dries so fast, which is essential when working in such a small space.
“I must admit I used to like oil more, because of the smell and the way the paint moved around the canvas, but I have to be more practical nowadays. With both mediums you can change your mind and paint over things, which is not possible with watercolour.”
How does Yvonne go about choosing her subjects? “I often paint local scenes which can be recognisable. I put in my own characters and include son-in-law Steve as a muse. It started as a joke, but people do look for him now. I also get commissions and my clients often get included in the pictures.
“I like to paint what amuses me and I paint for my own enjoyment. I love humour and colour and have never taken myself very seriously. I do also paint some landscapes and in the past have done several of the Lake District.”
She adds: “My paintings are not always what you would choose for your home, although quite a few have been sent abroad to family as presents from home. My cards and prints are popular.”
Yvonne tends to have several different projects on the go and may leave a painting for a week or so and come back to it with fresh eyes and more enthusiasm, changing things that didn’t work. A work could take a few days or a few weeks to complete.
She says she is not drawn to monochrome painting: “I see the world in vivid colours and not in monotone style, shades of red, green or purple.”
Yvonne tells me about the most exciting piece of work has created. “It was a large take of a Toulouse Lautrec picture in my own style, a collage where the feather boa was made from my shocking pink feather duster.
“I sold it in a local gallery in Cardigan. They reframed it with a wide navy blue mount and very wide gold plain frame, which transformed it. It was the first picture I sold and it was such a thrill that someone wanted to pay money for something I had produced!”
A great chronicler of Folkestone life, come along and see Yvonne’s pictures at the Folkestone Art Society show.
Find out more
Yvonne Hutchcraft exhibits regularly with the Folkestone Art Society. Visit the September show at St Mary and St Eanswythe’s Church, Church Street, Folkestone CT20 1SW, from 5 to 15 September, 10.30am-4.30pm (Sun 2pm-4pm).
Yvonne is available for commissions: contact her on 01303 257782 or via the Folkestone Art Society website, folkestoneartsociety.co.uk.