Artist Profile: Gill Bustamante
East Grinstead-based artist, Gill Bustamente, finds her inspiration in nature’s patterns and in the energy and colours of the landscapes and animals that surround her. All of her paintings tell a story and she believes that anyone can be an artist, they just need to find their art form first.
How would you describe your art?
I paint landscapes and seascapes on large canvases in oils, which is my favourite medium. My painting style is a fusion of expressionist, impressionist, semi-abstract, art deco, a little art nouveau and whatever mood I am in that day. I often practice a kind of impressionism in that I walk, look at things, and then paint from memory; the result is that I then paint what was impressed upon me when I looked at that landscape. I like to present new spaces and possibilities, and I regard myself as a ‘fine artist’. I am striving to create images that are beautiful and uplifting and that will give people a temporary escape to look at.
What is your background?
As a child, I taught myself to draw and paint by copying animals and horses out of books on an almost daily basis. Then in 1979, I did a foundation course at Chelsea and then a degree course at Brighton, where I graduated in 1982 with a fine art degree in sculpture. I then worked in a studio on the seafront for a while making sculptures with an architect for clubs and hotels. On moving to East Grinstead in the late 80s, I began painting for an art agent that specialised in bespoke portraits. In the late 90s, I began teaching art adult education courses for Central Sussex College, as well as running my own art courses. I used to sell the odd painting in galleries, but about five years ago I finally got the hang of the internet and started to sell online.
What is the most difficult piece you’ve ever undertaken?
I think the toughest painting job I ever did was painting the walls of a big restaurant overnight. The restaurant was being officially opened the next day and the murals on it had to be painted between 1am and 10am that day. I was offered a lot of money to complete the job, which I eventually did, but it used up so much mental and physical energy that I was jittering for days after – probably not helped by the free coffee and a massive bowl of Turkish delight I had been left by the owner!
What is your favourite piece?
My favourite painting is usually the last one I’ve finished. I don’t really look back much on former paintings as I am too busy looking forward to the next one, but I am fond of one called Harbinger of Autumn, though. I love the colours and the shimmering effect, and the way the stag stands waiting in the foreground; I really do believe that one day I will find a magic place like this.
What has been your proudest artistic achievement to date?
Selling my first big artwork at an exhibition in Chelsea; the moment I saw my painting with a red ‘sold’ dot on it was wonderful. I am also very proud of the lovely art students that I have tutored over the last 16 years. Three of them now teach their own art courses and some have exhibited and sold their work at exhibitions I have helped organise. The world would be a considerably more sane place if everyone could find an art form.
Where can we see your work?
I sell mostly online so my website is the best place to look – www.gillbustamante.com. However, I invite people to visit by appointment and see the work I have at home in Forest Row, as most of it is there.