You know the place. The place where you go that is so quiet and so peaceful that you can hear your thoughts and feel what is in your heart. Those are the places and feelings that artist Deborah Hutchings captures in her fresh and uplifting paintings that will transport you to the blue twilight on a New England seashore, beneath the cool shade of the graceful aspen, or to a broad Montana field spattered with golden hay bales and sunshine.
Landscapes have become a favorite subject of Hutchings, who recently moved to New Mexico where she has a home and studio in the high desert. Here she can absorb the beauty and serenity that surrounds her. She says, “It inspires me. I feel the peacefulness of the land but on the other end is a charge – an excitement.”
This excitement is something she has felt since she was a small child and began translating her feelings into artwork. Her mother’s encouragement nurtured Deborah’s artistic talent. Every Saturday morning the little girl set off with her paint box to attend art classes in her hometown in New Jersey. Art provided a perfect outlet for Deborah who was so acutely aware of the beauty around her.
She studied art in college and earned a degree in graphic arts from the University of West Chester and did postgraduate work at Northeastern University. A natural flair with color and design led her to a 25-year career in advertising where she served as art director and executive. A hunger for learning and exploring pushed Deborah to continue her education at neighboring art institutes where she studied with well-known artists such as Charles Reid. Reid’s abstract and progressive style helped her to loosen her own style of painting.
Deb dedicated full time to her painting in 1992 and also shared her talent as a teacher. While living in New England she favored watercolor as a medium and found herself painting cheerful florals and comforting landscapes, a reflection of her own positive and optimistic spirit. Her relocation to the Southwest marked a life change as well as a change in her artistic focus. The move offered an exciting time of exploration and discovery as she embarked on what she felt was a second life and second career.
This fresh start gives her a childlike enthusiasm and intensity. She says, “I want to paint everything and anything. I am exploring as a painter and painting as an explorer.” Deb found herself in a landscape that called her and yet overwhelmed her with its vastness and newness. Maybe this is what sometimes compels her to add a structure to her serene landscapes. A bright adobe house, an old Mission church, or a rustic barn adds an element of contrast and a people presence that invites the viewer to enter the painting. She notes that she felt that the strong western landscape demanded a solid, strong medium that she finds in oil paint.
She loves to head out into the field where she creates a watercolor sketch to take back to the studio where she will translate a new discovery into a new oil painting. The portability of watercolors combined with her familiarity of the medium makes it an ideal way to document what she sees. She says, “I call it my ammunition.” The learning process is continuous for Deb, who loves to read about and study the art of early American Impressionists as well as the Classics. She knows that what ultimately ends up on her canvas is a collection of impressions, memories, and experiences throughout both her personal and professional life.
Her art is displayed and for sale at several galleries including the Elemental Arts in her hometown area of Sliver City The Galleria Veronese in New Orleans, and Empress of Art in New London, Connecticut. She has an enthusiastic following in the Manhattan area and her paintings are in private and corporate collections across the nation. She has also found a special joy in commission work where she captures and preserves memories of an island paradise honeymoon, a spouse’s treasured birthday bouquet, and a sailing trip’s pastel pink sunset.
Hutchings loves the process she undergoes when completing a commission, which includes interviews and research so that the painting can tell their story. But, most of all she loves the response from the client. People tell Deb that when they look at her paintings they get a good feeling and it makes them feel happy – and for Deborah, that is a happy place to be.