Susanna Hickling


A Different Kind of Christmas...

We had it all planned out, ready to host our family over the holidays, when we tested positive for Covid. Needless to say our plans changed and instead of having a full house, Mark and I spent our days on the sofa, watching TV series and trying to recover from the dreaded virus. Once I started feeling a bit better I decided to work on some knitting projects and here are the results. One of my old favourites, a fingerless glove pattern, I have knitted many times over. I also decided to make a slouchy beanie, which ended up too big to wear as a hat and so, using some old trousers for the lining and a belt as a strap I turned it into a 'beanie bag'. The newcomer to the trio was a cardigan my daughter requested. Whatever you did during the break, I hope you made time for some rest and creativity.

Winter Markets...

Saturday was another first as we set up at the night market in Woodings Yard, Stafford. It got so busy that I only managed some pictures of the calm before the storm. The dry run I practiced at home was a lot of fun. Using lights made everything look very christmassy and on the night, winter warmers came in equal amounts from woolly hat and gloves and mulled wine. The next artisan market is December 3rd 11am-4pm. See you there!

Setting up Shop

In 2021 I took part in my first craft market. As well as being a lot of fun, it led me to turn my paintings into greeting cards and framed and stretched canvas prints. You will find some of my cards on sale at Woodings Yard, Stafford. And finally, in September 2022, we added HicklingStudios on Etsy. You can buy my cards, as well as prints of my paintings.
If you don't see what you want, contact me and let me know how I can help.

'Stylised Seascape'

For some time I have been wanting to try a different technique in my acrylic paintings – a less is more approach.
By not underpainting and leaving sections of the canvas bare or 'naked', one achieves a lighter feel, even though it is a riskier way of painting similar to watercolour. You have to be more deliberate with composition and the way you apply colour, not wanting to stain the primed stretched cotton. ‘Stylised Seascape’ (91cm x 122cm, acrylic on canvas) inspired by Castlemartin, Pembroke was the perfect opportunity to give it a test run.
I am really pleased with the result and already have some other compositions percolating in my head…

What a year!

2021 has certainly been productive: from designing wedding stationary (for our son and his now wife!), dipping my toes into running a craft stall and helping with the design of the introductory issue of Britannica Magazine, a brand new magazine for kids, as well as my regular freelance work and near completion of a third book in the Hoodie & Banks adventure series, Hoodie & Banks and the Raging Rumours.
One thing I will be making time for is filling some of the empty canvases I have been gazing longingly at, while busy with many other fabulous projects. Here’s to 2022, with high hopes of exciting opportunities and artsy fun!

Summer Roundup

It has been an unusually busy summer with a variety of projects. As well as being the official wedding stationary producer for my son and impromptu bridal shower photographer, I was able to use my daughter as a model for yet another watch illustration in Telegraph Time, illustrating 'Secret Watches'. Not included here, but in my Graphics & Layout portfolio, one of my favourite design refreshs of the logo for 'BeInspired', a yearly careleavers' inspirational day. In the midst of serving on jury duty, freelancing for Telegraph Magazine, working on my next book and preparing for the Made in Gnosall craft fair, I managed to squeeze in a painting I am really proud of 'Somewhere in Lee'. Stunning architecture is hidden in plain sight all around us and I can't wait to be able to revisit this subject in my next painting. Hopefully very soon. I shall wear my different hats until I can lock myself away in the studio - by far my favourite place!

May Spotlight: Stars and stripes...

For my next mini series I am focussing on patterns in nature. They come in may shapes and sizes and the colours and patterns are just as practical as they are beautiful. Mesmerising stripes – I wonder if it’s a defense mechanism, as I have never found drawing a horse shape so hard: 'Zebra' Equus quagga. Optical illusion: 'Swallowtail butterfly' Papilionoideas. Both Acrylic on canvas (61x61cm).

April Spotlight: It's time...

One of my favourite repeat projects is Telegraph Time. I work with a small team of people headed up by Tracey Llewellyn, editor of the watch supplement. It is great to collaborate with such a friendly bunch – Jenni Moore and Emma Hughes being the other partners in crime, as well as Helen Gibson, picture editor. The icing on the cake is slipping in one of my own illustrations, this issue it was for the Freak c'est chic piece. Nothing lasts forever, but while I keep getting asked to take part, I'll enjoy it every single time.

March Spotlight: You could paint an Orchid...

The answer to a question I posed my husband, when deciding, what to work on next. Finding an interesting composition with orchids that had just bloomed at home almost took a whole day. The realisation came that the delicate colours required a deliberate application of thin layers to keep the surface untextured. I found myself almost working the acrylics in such a way as if they were watercolour inks just staining the surface. I am extremely happy with the result. As I paint there is a deeper seeing of the subject, Orchidaceae will most likely be one that I will return to in the future.

February Spotlight: Finally complete

A series of three paintings (unhinged triptych), themed around the architecture of plants. Celebrating the simplicity and graphic quality, from left: ‘Silver Joey palm’ Johannesteijsmannia, ‘Golden barrel cactus’ Echinocactus grusonii, ’Windmill Palm’ Trachycarpus fortunei. Each measures 60cm x 60cm and is worked in acrylic paint on canvas. The inspiration came after looking through pictures I took at the Palm house in Kew.