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Gill Bustamante is a professional artist based in East Sussex who creates large semi abstract landscape, seascape and wildlife paintings in oil on canvas. Her painting style is very distinct and often fuses art-nouveau, expressionist and semi-abstract techniques with traditional portraiture that reflect her love of nature, animals, birds and the flora and fauna of the landscapes around her. Her main working method has been the development of a painting style she terms ‘memory impressionism’. This method involves going walking somewhere, looking at and absorbing the things she sees and experiences, and then returning home to her studio to try and capture an echo or essence of the place from memory - including any wildlife she may have seen. By this method she captures essences and echoes of places and the feeling she has about them. She loves the ancient landscapes of England and her paintings often reflect the magical elements that such landscape have.
As a child, Gill taught herself to draw and paint by copying pictures from wildlife and horse books on an almost daily basis and the skills she acquired were added to throughout school and college. However, Gill’s first real introduction to the life as a working artist began on leaving college when she discovered that the Brighton art galleries and the local job centre did not at once sign her up for a glittering career as an artist. In the job centre, when she told her consultant she had an art degree, the lady laughed sympathetically and then offered her a job as a chambermaid (which she took).
In the art galleries she visited, she was told she needed to be an ‘emerging’ or ‘mid-career’ artist in order for them to be interested. She tried to convince them she had, in fact, ‘emerged’ at age 3 but the pitch failed to impress and so like millions before her she hit the catch 22 of needing to be ‘a name’ before she was ‘a name’.
However, regardless of not winning the Turner prize or being Picasso, Gill continued to draw and to paint and regularly took part in or organized exhibitions where she sold her work or was given commissions. In the 1990s Gill met an art agent who travelled the area selling animal portrait commissions and Gill became one of the artists he represented which was excellent experience as it demanded she learn classical portrait painting techniques. Commissions continued as Gill’s main income source until around 2010 when Gill first began to sell her art online. The early success she had on this gave her the opportunity to spend more time developing new ideas and techniques and for the first time in her career she painted for her own pleasure, eventually developing a distinctive style of her own. Gill is a self-representing artist as although she is happy to work with galleries and agents occasionally, she prefers to remain in control of her own career.
Gill has A-levels in art and art history from Erith Tech in 1977-79. She took a foundation art course in Chelsea 1979-1980 and then took a fine art degree in Brighton completing in 1983. She is also a trained adult education art teacher (certificate 730)
Gill’s main medium is oil paint. She loves the smell and texture and mess of it. However she is also very competent in sculpture – especially modelling in clay and welding, mural painting in acrylic paint and has 7 years’ experience painting on furniture for the high end nursery designers, Dragons of Walton Street. Her most consistent earner before she became a full time independent artist, was in painting animals and people in watercolours, drawings or oils. There are over 300 homes with her portraits in them.
In 2000 until 2016, Gill taught watercolours, oil painting and drawing classes for Central Sussex College. Then from 2017 onwards, she began to teach from her own home and currently runs 3 classes a week. Her students like her easy going light hearted manner and the fact that she can easily demonstrate how to do things in any medium. She often begins her lessons with demonstrations and this really helps less experienced students to feel confident. Gill is sometimes asked to demo at fairs or exhibitions or at art societies including at one event recently at Henley which she did in coordination with the well-known SAA (society for all artists).
Awards and Distinctions
In 2016, four of Gill’s large landscape paintings were used in TV ads selling opticrom hay fever medicine (see link under the publications section).
In 2020 Gill will be appearing in one of the BBC episodes of ‘Home is where the art is’ where she competed with two other professional artists to win a commission.
Gill rarely enters competitions so has very little more to report under this heading. Her first prize was a handkerchief that she won when she was 5 for painting a donkey in the nativity play at her first school.
But the prize she values most (and still has) is a Blue Peter badge that she won in 1973 for painting a mermaid.
Gill sells most of her artwork online via her website, or by invitation for people to visit and see her work at home or via online galleries such as Saatchi, artgallery.co.uk, Art Republic, Singulart, Art2Arts etc. and via social media. She therefore only exhibits once or twice a year in real world venues (see exhibitions history below). She also licenses her art to art licensing companies, greeting cards prints and fine art publishers. (See home page for some of these)
1. To continue to make and sell her art and make good money doing so.
2. To continue to teach art and make it fun for others
3. To unfeasibly acquire a massive amount of money, buy an island and a yacht and start an artist’s retreat with residencies and galleries. (Still working on the logistics of this)
Reviews and Publications
2016 – Article on Artgallery.co.uk https://artgallery.co.uk/blog/2016/09/08/how-i-found-my-muse-by-gill-bustamante/
2016 - Gill Bustamante paintings used in Opticrom TV Advertising https://vimeo.com/164689034
2017 Gill Bustamante interview for SuperArtist By David Carus https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/ep-7-gill-bustamante/id1268964452?i=1000394573391
2017 My Modern Met art site article https://mymodernmet.com/gill-bustamante-landscape-paintings/
2017 Article on Empty Easel https://emptyeasel.com/2014/04/23/gill-bustamante-contemporary-oil-landscape-paintings/
2017 Singulart Article: https://blog.singulart.com/en/2017/10/24/meet-the-artist-gill-bustamante-painter/
2018 Article on Artsy Shark https://www.artsyshark.com/2018/05/24/featured-artist-gill-bustemente/
2020 BBC programme Home is where the art is.
Solo Exhibitions History
Solo exhibition, March 2005 Chequer Mead Art Centre, Sussex, England
Solo exhibition May 2007- Pottery Painting Café, Brighton Fringe Festival.
Solo exhibition, June 2007, Hawth Theatre, Crawley, West Sussex, England
Solo exhibition, summer 2008 Chequers Hotel, Forest Row, England
Solo exhibition, 2010, Brambletye Hotel, Forest Row, England
Solo exhibition, The Gallery, Rottingdean, England.
Solo exhibition, 2010-2011, Sheffield Park, Chelwood, England
Solo exhibition, 2015 Da Vinci Hotel, Eastbourne, England
Solo exhibition, 2016, Kingscote Vineyards, East Grinstead, England
Solo exhibition, 2018, Ashdown Gallery, Forest Row, England
Shared Exhibitions History
Shared exhibition 1998 Chelsea Open exhibition, London
Shared exhibition, South East Open, 2004, Old Convent, East Grinstead, England
Shared exhibition, Society of Equestrian artists, 2005, Mall galleries, London, England
Shared exhibition, 2006 Arabesque Gallery, Bahrain
Shared exhibition, 2008, Obsidian Art, Oxford, Buckinghamshire, England
Shared exhibition, 2009, St Hill castle, East Grinstead, England
Shared exhibition, Equestrian Art, 2009, Iona Gallery, Oxford, England
Shared exhibition 2009, Blue Moon Gallery, Tunbridge Wells, England
Shared exhibition, Brighton Fringe Festival, 2010, Ambassador Hotel, Brighton,
Shared exhibition, 2010, The Art House Gallery, Havant, England
Shared exhibition, 2011 Equestrian Art, Gallery LeFort, Bath, England
Shared exhibition, 2013, New Art Fair, Wills art warehouse, London,
Shared Exhibition, 2015 Fishing Quarter Gallery, Brighton, England
Shared exhibition, 2015 Lindfield Festival, Lindfield, Sussex
Shared exhibition, 2014 to 2016 Shoreham Gallery, Shoreham, England (artists collective)
Shared exhibition, 2015 – 2017 Graham Stevens gallery, East Grinstead
Shared Exhibition, 2016, Parallax Chelsea Art Fair, London, England
Shared exhibition, 2017, Angel Art Gallery, London, England
Shared exhibition, 2017, Art at 5 Gallery, Brighton, England
Shared exhibition, 2019 Outstanding Art Gallery, Durham, England
Shared exhibition, 2019 St Hill Art Festival, St Hill, East Grinstead, England
Shared exhibition, 2020, The Villa Studio, Brighton festival
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