I dedicate these ramblings to all those artists looking for their muse and all those art buyers who are helping artists to survive. Thank you! Gill
Many artists are trying to find their inspiration, their creative influence or their USP (Unique Selling Point as marketing people call it) and it will be distinctly different from person to person.
I was brought up in the London suburb of Bexleyheath and I hated it. I wanted the sea and fields and trees and I did not get this in Bexleyheath. Moving to Sussex was like finding a supermarket after 20 years starving in a desert. I needed space and I found plenty of it in the countryside and coastline of the south of England. That was the first step to finding my muse.
November Stirs - A Large Autumn Landscape Painting by Gill Bustamante
I was painting for quite a while before I could define what my personal style was though. It took learning to draw accurately, learning to paint traditional animal portraits, trying all sorts of mediums and techniques before I finally realised I did have a painting style. This only became obvious to me around 10 years ago and it only happened once I had enough technical skills under my belt to feel confident enough to be more experimental. I found that what I wanted to paint was places and things that were a little bit mystical and that I could escape into.
I wanted to paint things that were reminiscent of real places but with something else enchanting them a little. I wanted paintings that could lead me elsewhere entirely (along with anyone else who wanted to go there). This was my step two and this quote by Mary Lou Cook (actress, humanitarian and artist) sums up well what I found to be true for myself.
"Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun." - Mary Lou Cook
Bluebell Fields - Original Oil Painting by Gill Bustamante
I began to use bigger canvases (so I would have more room to play about and try things out) and I began to walk regularly. I became an absorber of my environment. By that I mean that whatever I see tends to lodge in my mind and I often have no idea what I have absorbed until I paint and then I see what I have observed. My landscapes became largely painted from memory combined with imagination and often start with a simple sketch with pleasing shapes in them but not much else. I like my landscapes to grow organically just like a real landscape does. Sometimes this went horribly wrong. About 20% of my landscapes were so bad I had to paint over them and start again but that was no problem as it all added to the texture of the next painting (I pity the person who X- rays one of my paintings in 200 years time hoping to find a masterpiece as they will be very disappointed).
Step three of finding my muse is in progress. Art is about observing something or imagining it and then finding a way to present that viewpoint to others. Everyone can do this but true artists keep evolving in how they present their viewpoints and how they present the message the wish to get across. If your art is not evolving, it is dying.
Hart Of Winter - A Winter Landscape by Gill Bustamante
I am immensely grateful to online galleries such as ArtGallery.co.uk and the internet generally for levelling the playing field for artists and for those who buy art. Anyone can make art and anyone can present it to others. A big name artist can be found next to a 13 year old artist living in a slum in India and they have equal opportunity to sell their art which I think is fabulous.
By Gill Bustamante - Artist and Art Tutor, ArtGallery Contributor