Woodland wall sticker decal in a Baby Boutique in Exeter

BlogPublished March 9, 2015 at 13:26 No Comments

I have just seen that a lovely new baby boutique, the thrifty stork, has chosen one of my woodland wall sticker designs to go up in their store! It is so lovely to see where my creations go and how they look when up.

the thrifty stork facebook

Here is a photo which is displayed on this post on their facebook page

Woodland wall stickers by dorset studio designs with a tree complete with fox, badger, hedgehog, squirrel, bunny rabbit, insects, owls, birds, butterflies, flowers and mushrooms. Pink and blue themed extra large sized decal.


As you can see by this preview image, it is a extra large set, that contains a badger, hedgehog, cute owls with one on a swing, squirrel, butterflies and birds, as well as a complete side branch to name but a few things. the best seller in this range has been the Autumn colour scheme, so it is lovely to see the pink and blue neutral up. I think it makes a really stunning backdrop to the stores product range for mums-to-be and infants. You can visit the store here at

Thank you for choosing a Dorset Studio Design for your stunning new store x

Artist in Residence – a gallery viewing…

BlogPublished February 13, 2015 at 08:51 No Comments

I had the privilege to go into the William Barnes School in Sturminster Newton in November last year and now that some time has passed since the children learned some watercolour basics with me, I have been asked to go back today to look at the work they have created in their own gallery showing! How exciting is that?! I am so looking forward to seeing all these littlies again, and their creations. They were a fantastic and enthusiastic lot, and really absorbed what I asked them to do.

I have also been asked if I might bring samples of work in for people to see (the person behind the lessons so to speak) So shall pop on in a bit before it starts and put a few things up. I also hope to preview some things for my new artistic venture, so if you happen to be one of the parents popping onto the website to get to know me better, please comment to this post, and I can sign you up to my new newsletter, so I can keep in touch with you x

For now, I am just so excited to go back and see how everyone has been doing. Being part of helping children find their creative side is such a great privilege <3

A gold and two silver awards

BlogPublished July 30, 2014 at 07:49 No Comments

I am taking part in the Dorset Arts and Crafts Association (DACA) again this year, it is to be my last as the Fine Art Director simply due to the time constraints I have at the moment. I will continue to demonstrate for them from time to to though :-) It is also their 2nd centenary year! How can they have two I hear you say, well they celebrated their 100th year of the organisation in 2007, but because the IIWW this year is the 100th exhibition. I won the inaugural cup for the Dorset Landcapse contest, which was a huge honour and surprise that year.  I entered into the same contest this year with 3 acrylics, and received one gold and two silvers. I am thrilled! I love to paint the Dorset that I see down the road from me as well as costal scenes from time to time. I feel rather blessed to live in this part of the country where I have rolling hills and sea all within the same county.
There is a wonderful turn out of entries this year, so varied, and colourful. Anyone can enter, as long as it is a Dorset landscape or seascape (a maximum of 5 entries PP).

Here are the pieces that I entered

sunshine and showers dorset landcape by sue hutchings at dorset studio

Sunshine and Showers – Silver
Textured acrylic on canvas 20″x 16″ £195




Through the gate,  dorset landcape by sue hutchings at dorset studio

Through the Gate Textured – Silver
acrylic on canvas 20″x 16″ SOLD




old harry rocks textured acrylic by sue hutchings at dorset studio

Old Harry Rocks Textured – Gold
acrylic on canvas 20″x 16″ £195


I love to create textured landscapes, whether for myself, or on commission. There are things that the texture does to a painting that paint alone doesn’t achieve, I don’t like to try and paint photographically, unlike the watercolour portraits, because for me that is where a camera comes in. I like to add a bit of roughness to a piece because that is how I see the landscape. Trees have texture, as has grass.


I will be demonstrating the painting techniques used in these acrylic paintings during the 5 days of the exhibitions which starts this Friday, 1st August 2014, at the Purbeck School, in Wareham, Dorset. I shall also be using watercolours as well as showing my watercolour portrait techniques too.


For more information on the association, go to their website: http://www.dorsetartsandcrafts.org/

Watercolour portrait of ‘Freeman’ the black retriever

BlogPublished June 3, 2014 at 10:48 No Comments

From time to time when I am painting portraits I like to take the extra time to take photos to show how I paint, and how paintings develop. I wanted to show the lovely dog Freeman being painted. I have painted many paintings now for this lovely family, and two of the animal portraits have gone over to Canada too, which is very special.
Freeman here was a very well behaved dog, and very photogenic with a lovely glossy coat which gave a  lovely contrast between light and dark, and he was fond growling for his stick lol. I go through the photos at the time to confirm which one is the best angle to use with my clients, and in this case this photo was the one chose, although with a non growling mouth. I used several of the other photos to make his mouth normal.



freeman black retriever watercolour animal portrait reference-sue hutchings


freeman complete copy righted small


I always start a painting with a detailed drawing of my dog or cat, and include where my light and shadow areas are, and any requested alterations, in this case, the mouth chance. I then transfer this drawing onto my watercolour surface, using graphite on the back of the drawing and pressing it through carefully with pencil, but not too hard to score the underlying paper. My main reason for doing this, is that the watercolour paper surface is so delicate, that to rub out on it means that the painting suffers as a result.
Once I have pressed out my drawing, I cover the whole area with a large piece of paper and remove the area aperture to paint through. I have in my early years discovered that you only need a small blob of paint on your hand to ruin a painting you have spent an age on. It is a practical life saver to small splashes and marks that can happen while painting. I then use several pieces of paper under my hand to directly lean on to stop any grease on my hands transferring to the watercolour paper also.

freeman-watercolour animal portrait-sue hutchings_dorset studio-1



I like to begin by painting in some of the light tonal values to give me some shape, before then going onto the eyes.


freeman-watercolour animal portrait-sue hutchings_dorset studio-2



For me it is the eyes that give a painting it’s life, and I like to get those started first. I work into great detail into the eyes, and often include the owner in the reflections. See the last photo for a close up of this.


freeman-watercolour animal portrait-sue hutchings_dorset studio-3



I paint as much as I feel I can to know I am happy before moving onto the detail surrounding the eyes, giving them tonal value and working in layers at building in the depth. at a later time, I go back to the eyes and complete the shadows that I need the surrounding tones to balance them with. Too much too fast can kill a painting using this medium.


freeman-watercolour animal portrait-sue hutchings_dorset studio-4



I then move to the nose, and get most of the tones in and the textures in. while painting I find it important to take lots of small breaks away from the work, so that i can keep coming back to it with ‘new eyes’. It was one of the things I remember very well from my early years, labouring lovingly on something and being so engrossed to even skip meals, only to find that something was not quiet right, and I would have to remove a great deal of the work to get back to an earlier point again, or start a new. Taking some time, especially with the starting point of the base drawing is so important, and it does pay off later.


freeman-watercolour animal portrait-sue hutchings_dorset studio-5



Now it is just drawing out the detail in layers and layers of thin washed, and lots of negative painting.


freeman-watercolour animal portrait-sue hutchings_dorset studio-6



My brushes vary from a large but pointed no 12 brush for starting the paintings washes, using wet in wet techniques, to then using no 0 – 3 sable brushes, sometimes a sable/synthetic mix. My main reason for using a no 3 brush in a Pro Arte range is that it holds enough paint to complete the strokes I need especially when building up long fur strokes, especially here between the ear and mouth areas, but retains a lovely point. Some of the smaller brushes you are forever dipping into paint between strokes, and you can get broken lines which is not an effect I am after. The smoother the paper, the less line breakage you get. I like to use a not texture paper as it has a little amount of tooth and comes through on the painting.


freeman-watercolour animal portrait-sue hutchings_dorset studio-7



I then moved onto the mouth and downwards towards his tag. I like to leave the collars and tags till last, so that I have the right tonal values surrounding them to fill them in.


freeman-watercolour animal portrait-sue hutchings_dorset studio-8



More work on the ears and more detailed layers all over add more dept, before completing the chest fur to a nice point, and then painting in the whiskers, and other small details that need to be added last


freeman-watercolour animal portrait-sue hutchings_dorset studio-9



And here is the finished painting.


freeman-watercolour animal portrait-sue hutchings_dorset studio-10


Lastly,  close up of the eye detail including Tracey :-)


freeman dog watercolour portrait - Sue Hutchings




Here is the testimonial that Tracey has sent me after receiving the painting:


“Well Sue did it again. This is the fourth family pet portrait we have commissioned and she has truly captured Freeman’s character and regal looks. Two portraits sit pride of place in Edmonton, Canada of my brothers feline family. The two my parents commissioned for us of our 25 year old cat, Scooby and Freeman the Flatcoat have pride of place on our wall in Dorchester. The process from photography to final art is seamless and to see how he was created on the blog is fabulous. We loved the fact that through Freeman’s eyes my image was reflected and found this a realistic and great touch. Thanks Sue we look forward to you being commissioned for Freeman’s brother or sister…”

Family Tree Card Cut

BlogPublished March 22, 2014 at 20:16 No Comments

A new creation for a lovely client, Vanessa.
These card cuts have been really popular over the last 12 months, and here is yet another, with the four names of the family, lovingly hand painted, and hand cut on acid free textured card stock, will colour coordinated hand cut leaves, all assembled to give you the finished result, in this case framed in a lovely country style white 8″ x 10″ frame.
Vanessa card cut dorset-studio-designs
Great for that special gift, or simply because you want a treasured memento of your family, costs just £57 inc P&P within the UK. Email me or comment here to place an order or to discuss other designs or quotes you may want.

Zac, the Alsatian

BlogPublished February 13, 2014 at 12:58 No Comments

I need to spend a long time updating some of my recent work, and I will find a time to do it soon, but for now, rather busy painting to various deadlines.

There is time to get this painting of Zac up though. Painted for Dave here in the village of Charlton Marshall, Zac is a wonderful character, and sat so well for the photos.

Watercolour portrait of Zac the Alsatian by Sue Hutchings

Watercolour portrait of Zac the Alsatian by Sue Hutchings

Watercolour portrait of Zac the Alsatian by Sue Hutchings

The amount of people that say they enjoy seeing how a painting develops is as interesting as looking at the finished thing, so here are a few additional shots of this one in progress.

One more picture to show the close up of the eye detail. Several of my recent clients have noticed the surroundings painted in their animals eyes, Dave recognised his shed in Zac’s eyes. My being able to meet the animals and take my own photos opens me up to provide these small details that help to make a painting extra special.

Watercolour portrait of Zac the Alsatian, close up eyes detail

Thanks Dave for asking me to paint Zac. x

Happy Christmas 2013

BlogPublished December 24, 2013 at 12:27 No Comments

Happy Christmas. :-)

Thank you for all your support I have had this year. I have met many new lovely people, and worked again for many I already know. What an interesting year it turned out to be, with lots of new things, many hard challenges, and the prospect of a full and rather involved 2014. More to follow as things happen.

Wishing you a lovely Christmas, and a blessed 2014,
Sue xx

(not forgetting Mr Burt in the photo….)


burts-christmas

Design Seeds, a really useful resource

BlogPublished June 1, 2013 at 17:06 No Comments

I discovered this not too long ago, and it is a fantastic way to find colour combinations in nature, especially for those who don’t have the time to go and do it all your self. Has been a great tool for me to use with my decal designs, although I am constantly inspired by many combinations dotted around my art studio!

Design Seeds website

Design Seeds image

Water colour poppies demonstration

BlogPublished April 27, 2013 at 14:42 3 Comments

I have been asked if I can demonstrate my watercolour poppies for the lighthouse art group in June, and thought I would post up a previous poppies in the making as an example of what it will look like to those watching, although it is likely to be less watery as this one, because it will be on an easel, and is going to run! it’s not a topic you can paint flat as the 40 or so members won’t be able to see! I am really looking forward to it.

Click here to see the full set of piccies

Jungle Decal, corner tree version

BlogPublished March 8, 2013 at 12:40 No Comments

jungle decal wall sticker children's kids _ sue hutchings at dorset studio designs
My latest decal design, a jungle theme, which sits nicely into the corner of a room which is great for those who don’t have a whole wall free but still want to do something creative using wall stickers in their children’s bedrooms. I enjoyed coming up with this concept of a crafty corner design :-)
I shall be designing the cutting plates for the standard tree design next. This Jungle theme will come in many different animal combinations to suit all tastes, and there will be some different colours introduced at a later stage.

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