Illustrator puts her attention to detail to good use

As manager of the Everett Farmers Market, Inger Hutton is on the waterfront every summer Sunday.

With her market co-manager husband Tone Hutton, she oversees vendors’ sales of fruit and flowers, crafts and candles, pastries and green beans. The colorful scene that sprouts up under white tents is a weekly testament to work, organization and the talents of many people.

Away from the market, 62-year-old Hutton has her own singular talent. She’s an artist who pays painstaking attention to detail.

In June, Hutton completed a Natural Science Illustration certificate program at the University of Washington. Her work and illustrations by 13 other students in the program make up a new display at the Burke Museum on the UW’s Seattle campus.

“A Celebration of the Natural World,” the exhibit in the museum’s Burke Room, opens with an artists reception from 6 to 8:30 tonight. The show runs through Oct. 31.

“I needed to be with people who are like me. I love exact detail,” said Hutton, who also has an associate’s degree in graphic arts from Everett Community College. Studying or working with more abstract visual artists, Hutton said, “I felt like a fish out of water.”

The blend of art and science appealed to Hutton’s devotion to accuracy. One of dozens of certificates available through the UW’s Professional and Continuing Education program, Natural Science Illustration classes met two evenings a week for 10 months.

Classes were taught in several locations on campus, including Hitchcock Hall, the biology building.

“I did a hornet, a really nasty guy,” said Hutton, who used a microscope in Hitchcock Hall to study the body of an Asian giant hornet — safely encased in a plastic cube. “It was something like an inch and a half long,” she said.

Her hornet painting took far longer than the time allowed in the science room. At home in Everett, she rigged up a jeweler’s loupe so she could see the hornet under magnification. “I spent two weeks looking at that,” she said.

She not only painted her subjects, but researched them. “With the hornet, if you’re small enough and get stung they can kill you. Twenty of them can kill a beehive of 60,000 bees in less than an hour. They’re horrible,” she said.

An image of a cuddlier critter, a rabbit’s head, was chosen from Hutton’s work for the art exhibit postcard, along with art from other students. Hutton also made three images of a squirrel, the animal’s skeleton, musculature and fur.

Instructors Elizabeth Halfacre, Patricia Weyer and Bart Rulon covered tools of the trade — graphite pencils to carbon dust — and the tough business of making a living as an artist.

Like so many workers who’ve faced career changes, Hutton lost a job several years ago when Safeco Insurance became part of the Liberty Mutual Group.

Now, she has an artistic goal. She hopes to illustrate children’s books. “I would like to leave something for my grandchildren,” Hutton said.

Although she admitted to hating school as a child, Hutton loved going to classes to hone her drawing and painting skills.

“You have to keep learning and growing,” she said.

Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460;

UW’s Burke Museum art show

Works by artists who recently completed the University of Washington’s 2010 Natural Science Illustration certificate program are on view at the Burke Museum today through Oct. 31.

The museum is on the corner of 17th Avenue NE and NE 45th Street on the UW’s Seattle campus. An opening reception for the show in the museum’s Burke Room, “A Celebration of the Natural World,” will be held from 6 to 8:30 tonight.

For more information, go to BurkeShow. To learn about UW certificate programs, go to

Talk to us

More in Local News

Suspected impaired driver crashed with Edmonds police officer

Both the driver and officer were injured Friday night and taken to Harborview Medical Center.

Everett killer sentenced to 43 years for fatal home invasion

Edmond Overton, 26, broke into a home and shot two men in October 2017. One of them died at the scene.

Why does a left-turn signal go green when no cars are there?

A commuter noticed the anomaly at an intersection on Everett Mall Way.

Please stop killing bumble bees: They’re not ‘murder hornets’

Beekeepers say residents are mistaking bees and wasps for Asian giant hornets.

Seniors from Marysville schools mark accomplishment with parade

In an attempt to make up for losing the usual graduation, parents planned a city-wide parade Friday.

Burglary suspect identified after fatal Everett break-in

A homeowner shot the man Thursday morning. The slain man had served much of his adulthood in prison.

Edmonds mayor removes finance director with no cause given

Scott James joined the city in 2014. He’s the third department director to leave in the past year.

Neighbors oppose Everett’s possible sale of 92.5 wooded acres

The city has owned the land around Wood Creek, which was once its water supply, for decades.

Snohomish County submits application for Phase Two clearance

Officials expect the state will decide “fairly quickly” whether the county is able to proceed.

Most Read