Gill, have you always wanted to be an artist?
Yes. I have two brothers who always played together so when growing up I had lots of time to develop my drawing and painting skills as they did not play with me.
You work as an art tutor; how does this influence your work?
I love tutoring as I demonstrate a lot and this makes me learn new things. It is a fascinating thing but when you are showing someone how to do something, you have no time for self-doubt so often do things that you would not do if you were alone. It makes me push myself further therefore and helps me to evolve in my own art.
You specialise in landscape paintings, has this always been your style of choice and if so why?
No – I wanted to be a horse and animal artist but was hampered by two things: 1. I am allergic to animals so could not really go near them and 2. Animal people, especially horse owners often spend so much money on their animals that they had no money for portraits! I began doing landscapes as they appeal to a wider audience.
How would you describe your creative process?
It is half order and half chaos. The older I get the harder I find it to not experiment and play around. I rarely end up with anything I had in mind. I like this though as I want all my painting to be genuine originals and not formula painting. By experimenting as I do, I always get originals. They are not always good paintings but they are definitely original!
Where do you seek inspiration?
I seek it form a merging of looking at real-life landscapes and then my memory of those landscapes. I do a 6 or 7-mile walk once a week and then come home and paint a ‘memory impression’ of that place over the next two or three weeks. Most of my paintings reflect the actual season we are in as that is what is in my mind. I like traditional landscapes, if well painted, but prefer to paint flavours and impressions of places rather than their physical or botanical accuracies.
What does a typical day look like for you?
A typical day always involves bacon, egg and coffee for breakfast and after that teaching, painting or walking. In between that I read one or two books a week, drive erratically, eat too much cake and rant to my friends about how stupid plant Earth is right now. I am very happy to finally be a self-employed artist as I was 50 years old before this actually occurred.
Which artists, living or deceased most inspire/influence your work?
Biggest influence probably Gustav Klimt as I love how he painted with total mastery and skill but was able to fuse it with whacky decoration and stunning landscape compositions. I have never seen anyone take a bit of a tree and a patch of grass and make it as interesting and beautiful as he does. My own art also tends to be a combination of carefully painted in contrast to abstract.
Do you like to listen to music when you create, if so what sort of music do you listen to?
I love music and listen to it always when painting. I love Radiohead, Wye Oak, The Verve, The Doves, Elbow, The Cure, and many other more modern musicians of the melodic rock and Manchester variety as well as other things I hear on BBC 6 Music.
If you had one piece of advice for someone seeking a career in art what would it be?
Learn to draw and paint well first. Do it by drawing and painting often. Go to some classes, watch YouTube, do whatever but it comes by practice just like anything else. Then when you have work that is of good quality promote it everywhere you can but don’t spend lots on ads. There are lots of free ways to promote.
If you had a dinner party and could invite 3 guests, living or deceased who would they be and why?
Spike Milligan as he was a hilarious and beautiful soul. Jonny Depp because I fancy him and my best friend just keep the male to female ratio in.
What does the future look like for you?
Uncertain but interesting. I sell mostly online and this keeps changing so I may never feel secure but I love what I do and I love helping other people do it too. I hope to one day move to a house with more space where I can take up sculpture again (my fine art degree was in this).
View Gill Bustamante’s full gallery.