The Hidden Benefits of the Art Trail - Jacky Bellamy
It is of course with huge regret that we took the decision not to go ahead with the 2020 Open Studios Art Trail – though ultimately this was taken out of our hands anyway.
I wrote to artists to break this sad news…
We do not take lightly the disappointment that the loss of this opportunity will cause, both to our artists and visitors. For artists, I nevertheless hope that the focus and deadline of the Trail in May, has served as a spur for some productive creativity; those creations will be ready and waiting to find their way into the world as soon as possible.
Little did I know then, that the ripples of the Trail had reached much further than I ever could have imagined, and it had already worked its magic!
Here is a chat with Jacky Bellamy, painter, at Online Venue 46, with a hindsight view of how she has arrived at some very unexpected outcomes of joining the Trail!
... Just thought I would let you know how planning for the Chichester Open Studio has changed my life and my practice. I may have over done it…but I wanted to be as prepared as possible!
How have you been preparing to open your studio for the Trail?
I started by keeping a journal. It was amazing how it enabled me to write thoughts, ideas and developments down. I would never have thought how much this would help me move on.
Falling, going up the step into the studio, and breaking my ankle, made me consider Health and Safety regarding visitors to the studio. So I had a new path laid from studio to house, eliminating steps and dividing the space into manageable areas.
This then had repercussions for the whole garden!!!
Once a rough grass patch, I am now in love with my garden and Monty Don. I find it like doing a painting, issues such as colours, texture, height, pattern, composition, areas of germination etc all come to the fore. I even found a conker that I had planted in a plastic pot had germinated and was now nearly a foot high, with only a dandelion for company.
This has given me many more pleasures, I have dug the whole remaining plot, and thankfully before the lockdown, visited the Garden Centre for plants and seeds. I now have a green house in the upstairs front bedroom.
So…the garden is occupying me well during this fine spell, and seeds are germinating in my upstairs green house.
And what’s happening with your artwork?
I am also so lucky to have the studio, I am in there everyday. Through paint I can allow myself to dig deep into my learning about art, and to find a way to express my thoughts on the world around me. My paintings are in oil, abstract and rather large, each with a journey of its own and a story to tell.
At the moment, some of the desperate desire to paint is lessening, and I am thinking, researching, sketching, writing an art journal, reading, instagramming etc. which is leading to a more informed, confident and personal approach.
Lastly tidying the studio itself made me realise just how many unresolved paintings I had. With the help of my journal, I set about resurrecting them. Pouring, dripping, cutting up, collaging, revealing, concealing etc. Tidying had to go on the back burner while I created a corner for sitting at a table to cut and stick. A place for clean brushes or dirty ones waiting to be cleaned. A place to put work dripping in paint to lie flat while it developed a skin, a place for the variety of mediums and materials. A place to sit and contemplate.
It is a strange time we are in and so sad that the Trail can’t go ahead.
Of course the Coronavirus will affect us all, but just preparing for the Open Studio Trail has reinvigorated my work; I have redesigned and planted my garden, and reorganised and tidied my studio (not quite finished yet!)
So the Trail has been a success for me! I still have further digging, pictures to paint and studio sorting to do – there are still not enough hours in the day – I just hope I may be ready by next year!
However much I may have overdone it, I am reaping all the benefits now.
With thanks to all who tirelessly have worked so hard to give us the opportunity to share our work. When this difficult time is all over, please may I invite you to a studio visit.
Jacky Bellamy 🥰