inspired by Rose Hilton

Rose Hilton: Studio Table

I was really inspired by this piece in the Guardian this Saturday about the painter Rose Hilton. Surely nobody could have had less support or encouragement to realise their dreams, ambition and talent, and yet she is now painting happily and beautifully at the age of eighty.

Married to the St Ives big gun Roger Hilton until his death in 1975, she was discouraged from painting first by her religious parents and then by Roger himself, but ignored all this and did it anyway. I love her work, but more than that I love her story, which is an inspired fairytale ending for all creative women trapped by domesticity or lack of encouragement.

I am still loving my online art course which is now over halfway through. I am relishing the challenge of the assignments and resolving problems artistically once again. My dreams are full of paint surfaces, strange perspectives and the quality of line. I am struggling to produce work that I really like, but that is ok, because it is an age since I worked this way, and indeed I have never worked this way with the benefit of experience and maturity that the years since my art degree have brought.

I am beginning to wish that I had studied for a fine art degree instead of my textiles qualification, which majored in embroidery. I do love embellished surfaces and stitch, but I have never loved fabric in the right sort of way to make it work for me, and this is something I realised early on in my degree but never had the confidence to resolve. I can remember being directed towards embroidery by an enthusiastic tutor on my foundation course who thought that my giant tissue paper and pva daffodils showed a leaning towards textiles... of course I never thought to question her... but life has many different threads and there are all sorts of reasons for our decisions, and who knows what the pattern of my life might have looked like if I had not set out for Manchester School of Art in the autumn of 1985...

Anyway, here I am now, the person that I am with the life that I have. I am certainly no Rose Hilton, but I am enjoying painting and drawing again, and that is enough for now. Maybe one day I might be brave enough to apply for the MA that I have always wanted to do, but never have, and perhaps that's why... perhaps it needs to be in fine art, not textiles.

14 comments:

the veg artist said...

Thank you for the links on artists that you've provided, especially this one. I'm sure that, somewhere, we have a limited edition print that Rose Hilton did as a fund-raiser, I think for her local church, several years ago. I can picture it, picture the packaging, even the kind letter that came with it from the vicar, but do you think we can find it? We've looked before, but failed. We won't have thrown it away, so it's in the bookcses somewhere I expect.

It might even be valuable by now. Heck! Although it possibly might not be by her, I'm pretty certain it is. Another search is called for.

ljw said...

I read that article and enjoyed it too. The relationship with her husband sounded tempestuous but without it, would she ever have developed the creativity that she is now able to express?

Here's a thought about life's decisions:

'He'd like to go back to those minutes when the past had dropped from them and the future hadn't yet begun.....Is it the wish, the dreamlike, nostalgic wish, to stand again at that point in his life and be able to take a completely different direction to the one that has made him who he is now?

There's something strange about this wish, because the person who wishes it isn't the one who, still untouched by the future, stands at the crossroads. Instead, it is the one, marked by the future-become past who wants to go back to the past to revoke the irrevocable.....At that time no perspective of experience could have made him want to take another fork at the crossroads. So what good would it do him to turn time, and extinguishing one experience after another to turn himself into the person of then? The person of than would have to be quite different from him to take another direction as he wishes for himself for today........'

Taken from Night Train to Lisbon by Pascal Mercier

......in other words, no regrets.

acornmoon said...

I believe that no learning is ever wasted, you are in your prime now and maybe in a more mature frame of mind to become the painter you have locked away inside.

The lady I mentioned in my email was Bradley, not Bradbury. Now I come to think of it I think it was Lowry who encouraged her.

Jackie said...

Sue my advice is do it now.
Your painting is beautiful. As for me...I can't paint and have always loved fabric and thread . An ability to paint would be extremely useful to me.

Frances said...

Sue, I am going to go back to that Guardian article, and learn a bit more about Rose Hilton.

I think that official, certified education allows us all to learn lots, and opens many possibilities to the limitless areas of our brains waiting to be challenged.

However, how wonderful to realize just how much we can stretch ourselves in many directions if we keep our curiosity and enthusiasm abundant. A walk on an sunny spring day might trigger your eye, and that response might get another creative path started. That path might lead to words, to paint, to pencil and paper, or to cloth, needle and thread. Or to a photograph, or so many other directions.

I feel as if the more I see, the more I see. Hope that you agree. xo

rossichka said...

Dear Sue,
It's wonderful to hear your voice "singing" out of joy! Obviously, consciously or subconsciously, you've made the right choice - to attend this course that helps you go back to your dreams... To discover that you are "thursty" to paint and draw and that you can easily learn, not matter the long pause, because you are motivated and full of desire!
Go on! Everything has a reason! I believe that only good and beautiful things will happen to you after this artistic" push"!:))xx

P.S. What about Rose Hilton's life - it's really inspiring, showing that we must never give up our dreams and that we can be happy if we do what we love...

Sue said...

How interesting, my enthusiastic foundation course tutor thought my large three-dimensional textile pieces and masks showed a leaning towards theatre design (understandably) and so I abandoned my ideas of a degree in embroidered textiles for one in theatre design which was quite the wrong course for me.

I like your blog very much and will be visiting often.

Isabelle said...

Goodness, I love your still lifes (is that the plural? or lives?) of a previous post. I thought at first that they were Elizabeth Blackadders (maybe someone else said that but I haven't read the comments. Must go and cut the grass before it rains). Anyway, so lovely!

Karen said...

Sue, inspiration is all about us. Please pop onto my blog to see how you have inspired me! It is crochet rather than painting...

paintdropskeepfalling said...

I blogged about Rose too for the same reasons! If she can do it, we all can (even better without the alcoholic husband - lol).

Jacqui Dodds said...

Thank you for posting about Rose Hilton - I very much admire her as an artist.
I can understand your felings about wishing you had done a Fine Art degree. I have been lucky enough to take that path and graduated two years ago in Fine Art which has opened up a whole new world to me.
I am glad that you are enjoying your art course as the work you are producing is stunning.

elizabethm said...

The picture that heads this blog is simply beautiful. As others have said, you are who you are now because of the life you have lived. No point in regret although a little delicious wondering is inevitable. Go with the MA. I am sure you will never regret it if you do.

Mag said...

This morning I listened to a wonderful interview with Rose Hilton. Here it is, in case you missed it:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0100212

Kitsch and Curious Elaine said...

(A bit behind in catching up with blogs.) My goodness, I can sympathise with your feeling of having done the wrong course at art college. I think I did too. But the other commenters are right - you can't have regrets. In reality, I don't think I'd have done any better on any other course, simply because I lacked the confidence in myself and my work. You're finding your way now, and that's what's important - the present and the future. The past has gone. Hope you're enjoying your week of art this week.