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The Art of You - Artist Stories - Becky Nuttall

Updated: Jun 12, 2020

Artist Statement: Becky comes from an artistic and literary background. She studied art in the early seventies but got diverted by literature and, latterly, the social development of adolescents. The research undertaken as part of her MA reconnected her to her own adolescence and its influence.

She is a published poet and performs her poetry locally. Her work “Bedroom shrine to the virgin of the rocks” was shortlisted for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2017.

Her works has two themes: Art of School: Religious influence on an emerging young artist in the Seventies; Family Tree: Referencing the objects, places and influences in Becky’s past.

Becky paints mainly in acrylic but uses mixed media including materials she used as a child and student to enhance the reference to emerging child artists. Parts of her original childhood and student works are collaged into paintings and some have a deliberate naïve quality for this purpose. Works with a reference to religious iconography replicate the paintings in her convent school. Becky includes works by her father and children to show the artistic tradition that runs through her family. Her father, Peter Draper, owned Milton Head Pottery Brixham from 1950 – 59 and became a successful playwright. He was a founder member of The Devon Guild of Craftsmen. The pottery site is featured on the Brixfest heritage trail app. Torbay Libraries held two Milton Head Pottery exhibitions in 2016.

“Visiting Artists” is Becky’s blog on her website: recalling the influence of her artist father, his friends, convent education and art school education on her life.

Work Description: First attempt at an oil painting in 1966 age 9 years. Painted more for the colours than the composition, it was so arduous and complicated mixing linseed and turps and using a stiff brush that I never painted in oils again.

Visiting Artists

One day in about 1966 two artists visited the art supply shop below the Overgang at the harbourside in Brixham.

The younger artist knew the king of art mediums is oil. With linseed oil, turps, scratchy brushes and canvas, this was the alchemy needed to create a “work of art”.

Having announced she was going to be an artist and go to art school (Tony Hancock hovers in the wings) the older and wiser artist replied, “Art schools are the universities of life” along with “never trust banks” and “people with glass tables shouldn’t sit on them” and “hang on, you’re nine years old”

To the younger artist, buying the oil paint would mark a line between what you create with poster paints on paper and a new expectation; ‘the work of art’.

Disaster: the completed canvas was the work of a nine-year-old; she wanted it to be at least a Picasso.

Now she realises this was the closest she got.

‘It takes a long time to be young’ Pablo Picasso



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