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Honour for SCG ton

Grafton artist Julie Hutchings will be painting at the SCG Test next week.
Grafton artist Julie Hutchings will be painting at the SCG Test next week. Jojo Newby

IT IS the kind of national TV coverage corporations pay millions for, but Grafton artist Julie Hutchings has managed to secure a dream profile boost thanks to her talent with the brush.

Mrs Hutchings is one of 12 leading Australian artists appointed to complete "en plein air" (in the open air) artworks at the Sydney Cricket Ground for the second Australia v India cricket Test, starting Tuesday.

It is part of the celebration of the SCG's 100th Test match and each artist's work will be auctioned for the benefit of the McGrath Foundation.

Four artists will take up different positions at the SCG each day (for the first three days) and it is expected Channel Nine will focus on the artworks on the approach to ad breaks and at various times throughout the day.

Mrs Hutchings said she had been given the opportunity because one of her previous works was shortlisted in the 2010 Cricket Art Prize.

"We were sent an email and asked if we'd like to participate," she said from her Westlawn home studio yesterday.

A prolific painter and drawer, Mrs Hutchings has held 26 exhibitions in galleries up and down the east coast in the past five years and said she will have four exhibitions on the go in four different states next year.

This is somewhere in between plans to paint her friend and fellow-artist Michael Taylor for the Archibald Prize, which must be ready by March.

Mrs Hutchings acknowledges she is at somewhat of a career peak with paintings "walking out the door" at a number of her exhibitions and her works becoming sought by prominent collectors.

But with 20 years as a professional artist, she is also aware an artist's life is prone to peaks and troughs, noting she had been through plenty of times when she had to ask her self "hang on, aren't I supposed to be getting paid for this?".

Aside from an astute ability to self-criticise, Mrs Hutchings said an artist's success depended on the discipline to work every day.

Clearly excited at the chance to paint at the SCG, Mrs Hutchings said she had been practising cricket images with some painting on paper, but was still a little uneasy about the distance she would be from the players considering her shortlisted work was a close-up portrait of a batsman.

She said movement, emotion and spontaneity were some key ingredients she tried to deliver in her expressionist work.

It is these traits she said made sport an ideal hunting ground for material.

Mrs Hutchings's work can be viewed at the Grafton Regional Gallery and the Prince St Coffee House.

Topics:  art, artist, cricket, painting, sydney cricket ground


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