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Painting of a swan on rippling water.

Holly Hinchliffe – creating small moments with water paintings


  • Student Journal
  • |
  • Fine Art


I've always been drawn to water, comforted by the shapes and sounds it makes and by the impermanence of it's reflection. AUB being by the sea was actually one of the reasons I applied for the course. Water is notoriously a difficult subject to paint because of the details and movement, but I find myself enjoying this challenge, attempting to balance mark-making and brush strokes with creating a cohesive image.

According to my parents, I've always had an intrinsic desire to create art. The first thing that comes to mind is a story about a four-year-old Holly creating this amazing three-foot drawing of a dragon, something outside the realms of a toddler's capability, a drawing my mum felt compelled to show as many people as she could. I don't recall this particular artistic awakening, but I do know that art has always been part of my life. I wouldn't be the person I am today if I didn't develop the interest my four-year-old self clearly had.

I’ve had a somewhat difficult time attempting to translate my creative vision into physical artwork, even figuring out what I actually wanted to create and where I would start was a challenge. I think a reason for this mental block is previously being encouraged to only create realistic paintings, which does appeal to many audiences, but it prevented me from exploring other aspects of contemporary art. While I do enjoy creating realistic pieces, it has its limitations when making an interesting personal body of work that contributes to a contemporary art course.

Letting go of these restrictions, speaking with peers and tutors, and forcing myself out of my comfort zone, has enabled me to explore my skills and discover my true artistic passion.

The course at AUB has encouraged me to pursue my own creative journey, which has allowed me to combine my connection with nature with my creativity to form my artistic practice. Creating site-specific work at the Bournemouth Natural Science Society through our collaborative exhibition helped with this development. I was able to bounce ideas off my peers and use the tools and themes provided to create a piece that fit into the museum.

Using the studio space provided by AUB, I’ve developed my recent body of work leading up to my final exhibition. The studio space gave me somewhere to create larger works and encouraged me to get involved in the creative environment with my peers. Currently, I'm enjoying creating work inspired by the everyday experience, finding beauty in unnoticed occurrences and mundane happenings. Photography acts as a visual aid in my process, translating the patterns and shapes found in images into art. The subject of my work reflects my interests and mood at the time.

Many of my water paintings are inspired by old photographs from my past experiences and explore the power of memory as a cognitive function and its use when creating a painting. Water in particular has been known to hold memory and has many connections with the human body. This project has been heavily research-based and is a physical display of my interest in water. Now working towards my final unit, I’m able to continue exploring my interest in water and use what I’ve learned to create a formal exhibition piece.

I hope to continue my art practice after I graduate. I think it’s everyone's dream to be able to make a living from their passion – I’ll explore every opportunity I can to make this dream a reality.

Check out Holly's Instagram page and website.

Something to think about

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