Helmingham: Artist HUTCH sets up home in hall gardens

HUTCH at work. Photos: Colette Smith

HUTCH at work. Photos: Colette Smith - Credit: Archant

Suffolk artist James Hutchinson - aka HUTCH - has moved into the historic Helmingham Hall Gardens as its artist in residence.

An example of HUTCH's work

An example of HUTCH's work - Credit: Archant

He’s exhibited in a variety of places in London and Suffolk since graduating from Central Saint Martins in 2004 and has had sell-out shows in various venues and galleries including the prestigious North House Gallery in Manningtree. His recent successful show The Drawing Seller in Woodbridge focused on his pen and watercolour works.

The residency gives HUTCH the chance to work “en plein air” where he will be able to indulge his romantic idea of the artist painting and drawing outside in the landscape - enjoying it, not fighting, not trying to prove anything or improve on nature.

“As artist in residency at Helmingham Hall Gardens I hope to gain an experience that goes beyond that of the one off-visitor. The grounds are beautiful and you don’t need a full month to realise this, but my hope is my prolonged stay will allow me to see more detail, to find less obvious pockets of beauty in the gardens and crucially to have the time to record this experience using oil paint,” says HUTCH.

“I will be in the gardens daily painting outdoors. I’m not sure what people will think of me. Most of the time they will see artwork that is only half complete. I imagine most people will understand the reasons I wanted to paint there and I think that most will see the connection between this garden environment and the one that Monet chose to paint in.”

The 31-year-old’s influences could be described as old school. He takes inspiration from the giants of 19th Century art such as Cezanne, Monet and Pissarro while retaining his originality, skilfully avoiding the clichéd and predictable.

The beautiful setting will undoubtedly be a source of inspiration for his work, as was Giverny for his idol Monet.

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You can see HUTCH paint in and around the gardens to July 5. The idea came about 18 months ago when Ipswich School, where HUTCH teaches art, offered him a secondment as a professional development opportunity. The only proviso was he found a suitable personal challenge that would also benefit his students when he returned to school in September.

“Outdoor oil painting at Helmingham Hall seemed the perfect solution. I approached Lord and Lady Tollemache regarding the Residency and I am very grateful that they excepted my proposal.”

For more details about the residency and HUTCH, visit www.byhutch.co.uk

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