When you’re smil­ing

Kent Life - - Art Life - WORDS: Diana Cramp­ton PIC­TURES: Manu Palomeque

There’s hu­mour galore in Yvonne Hutchcraft’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.”

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

“I love hu­mour and colour and have never taken my­self very se­ri­ously”

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