The remarkable talents of artists across the Chichester area go on display over the first two weekends in May.
From the top of the South Downs, through the valleys, down to the sea, along the coast and into the city, local artists and makers are getting ready to welcome you into their studios for this year’s Chichester art trail.
It runs on May 5, 6 and 7 and May 12 and 13, 10.30am-5.30pm each day, offering an enticing mix of painters, printmakers, potters, weavers, photographers, jewellers, sculptors, textile artists, glass workers, calligraphers, furniture makers, metal workers, dressmakers, illustrators, wood turners and more…
Among the painters is long-term participant John Robinson who has been part of the trail since the turn of the century. You can visit him at The White House, East Marden, PO18 9JE – and he looks forward to you doing so.
“I have always been interested in painting, but I didn’t get the time to do it much before I retired, and then I started painting a lot more. I used to paint in my attic which, as access, was not suitable for being part of the trail, but then we built a studio in the garden, and that enabled me to participate in the trail.
“Quite a few people have bought quite a few of my paintings through the trail, and I just enjoy meeting people – whether they are going to buy or not. I am a bit out on a limb at East Marden, on the edge of the trail, so we know that if people come to us, they have chosen to come. We are not exactly in the middle of things, but it is always nice to say hello to people.
“I used to work for ICI based in Fernhurst. I worked for about 30 years with ICI. I spent the early part of my career living in East Africa, running the business in Tanzania. I came home and ended up working on the Latin-American business from here. I didn’t live there, but I spent a lot of time travelling out to Latin-America developing the business.
“I did a little bit of art while I was still working, on Sunday afternoons if the sun was shining. I suppose I used to do it as occupational therapy, just a way to relax a bit. It was quite a demanding life with work.”
Retirement, however, has since given him the chance to pursue the hobby. Largely self-taught, he is now a member of a number of art societies including Chichester, Midhurst, Petersfield and the Association of Sussex Artists.
“My father was a commercial artist, which is what they now call a graphic artist. There was a lot more creative artwork required from commercial artists in those days before computers. But he used to paint in his spare time.
“We used to go out for family picnics, with my brother and sister, both younger than me, and he would always tell us that we had to produce a painting that was worth looking at before we could play any games or have any nosh! It might have put some children off painting for life, but it didn’t with us. All three of us still paint.
“I love landscapes. I love painting outdoors. I don’t like painting from photographs, though I do sometimes. I much prefer painting from sketches that I have done myself. If you sit there and do even a quick sketch, you have had the opportunity to absorb the atmosphere of the place. If you just go click on a camera, then you haven’t really got it in your head. I prefer sketching and using the sketch as the basis for producing something back in the studio.”
For other stories by Phil, see: https://www.chichester.co.uk/author/Phil.Hewitt2