Colin with his dog Patti on the Isle of PortlandJurassic Coast artist Colin Bentley is working on a three-year art project in collaboration with the Jurassic Coast Trust. Following the success of Colin’s first Jurassic Coast art exhibition in Sidmouth, Colin is turning to Dorset for 2018’s exhibition.
The exhibition in Sidmouth is now over, and the studio has been cleared, painted and it’s ready for the next year’s work.
Setting up for the exhibition at Kennaway House now seems a long time ago and the success of the show has temporarily hidden that “what if nobody buys my work” feeling, that I suspect all artists secretly have. After all, the work has to be sold in order for me to finance the next set of paintings. I’m always slightly embarrassed talking about the commercial side of my job, but that’s a part of an artwork’s life.
It was great to talk to the new owners of the paintings at the exhibition and they all had something in common. Each person had bought the artwork because it had a personal connection to them, a memory of playing with the kids on the beach or walking the dog. I’ve always felt that art should be bought because you love it. It should evoke an emotion when it’s viewed and hopefully give the viewer joy.
Many people asked me in the exhibition what’s my favourite painting. This was something that I hadn’t thought too much about and my answer actually surprised me. The painting I chose wasn’t one of the large dramatic works or one of the paintings that I was most proud of. It was a tiny little sketch, quite quickly painted, showing the cliffs and the sea at Beer in Devon.
This painting reminded me of the night I kayaked across the bay and met friends on the beach for a BBQ. That night we spent most of our time eating and drinking, but within our increasingly slurred conversation the phrase “we are very lucky to live here” kept cropping up. That little painting brought it all back and reminds me, why I live on this beautiful coast and am proud to be a Jurassic Coast artist.
The Jurassic Coast is an important part of my life, and I’m sure many of us would say the same. Knowing that all the people who now own my paintings bought them because of their connection with this coastline make me immensely proud to be a Jurassic Coast artist.
I can’t wait to start the Dorset section of the Jurassic Coast and I’m looking forward to spending time walking its coastline. So, if you see a man taking photographs of his small dog and a very big smile on his face, it’s probably me thinking “I’m very lucky to live here”.