Gill Bustamante: wonderful world of Sussex

Gill Bustamante is the gifted artist responsible for the vivid and curious creations that decorate these pages of your Ditchling CommunityAd magazine.


We love to showcase local talents and dedicate column inches to creativity so with that in mind we posed a few questions to Gill, who has been based in Sussex since 1980 when she relocated to beautiful Brighton retreating from what Gill calls “the blandness of Bexleyheath” to study art, she’s stayed local ever since and found inspiration in the sensational sublimity of Sussex.


What makes it such a beautiful place to live both in terms of its aesthetic and its community spirit?

The landscapes in England generally are beautiful but what I most enjoy, from wandering around the rural areas of Sussex, is the timelessness. You find ancient earthworks, mill ponds, 1000-year-old churches, Roman roads, barrows etc all hidden away in gorgeous nooks and crannies. You really do get echoes of the past and that feeling of timelessness is what I try to reflect in my landscape paintings. As for the people and community, you can tell that, for the most part, the farmers and landowners and conservation areas are loved and cherished – as they should be. England is a small country and I hate to see it being fragmented by roads and housing but can see many like-minded souls working to protect Sussex, in particular, in order to keep it as it should be.


How long have you been drawing and painting? What is it that inspires you to get creative?

I arrived out of my mum clutching pencils and a drawing pad and have always loved to draw and paint and sculpt. The inspiration is simply the landscapes I visit and the wildlife and flora and fauna that I see. I love to capture the vibrations of different places and in different seasons and also try to capture in the paintings how I feel about what I saw. I often paint from memory in order to get a semi abstract feel to my landscapes and then will add deer or owls or other creatures here and there just to give the landscapes a focus.


I’ve spoken to a few artists through my years here at CommunityAd and a lot of them say painting is like meditation almost, would you agree?

It is, definitely; it is in a zone of operation above the normal everyday hassles of keeping your body functioning and dealing with daily life demands. Creation, in any form, is a spiritual activity and reminds you that you are not a body – you are a spirit with a body and that reminder alone helps you stay sane. ‘Everyday life’ consists of pretty much doing as you are told in order to get paid or rewarded or validated by others in some form or another but when you create a piece of art – no matter how amateur or expert it is – you are creating something according to your own rules and not those of others. This is therapy – no doubt about it!


Gill finishes by telling us and our readers that she can often be found “thrashing about in the undergrowth of Sussex wearing a silly hat and covered in cow poo. But when not doing that, I am at home painting or else teaching art”.


To see more of Gill’s mesmerising work then head to her website or email her on [email protected].

by Dave McKenna

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