Pull of the sea for painter

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The pull of the sea remains strong for painter Carolyn Mackwood, one of the 172 artists and makers showing their skills across a 124 venues as this year’s Chichester Art Trail gets under way.

Carolyn, of Delling Close, Bosham, describes the sea as her first point of reference.

“I took part in the Art Trail about seven or eight years ago. It seemed like an ideal way of getting your work out there without having to outlay huge amounts of time and money, and an ideal way of taking part in a community arts event.

“But since I did it last time, I have completed a fine art degree at the University of Chichester. I graduated last May. I really enjoyed my time there. I am a mother, and so I was slightly restricted on how far away I could go, having got teenagers at home. But I had heard some good word of mouth about the course, and while I was there I spoke to other students who had studied elsewhere and said that they never saw their tutors. I never once found that a problem in Chichester. If I wanted to see somewhere, there was never a problem at all. There was a tutor for everyone.”

And so it proved a great place to pursue her interests – as will be reflected in her contribution to the Art Trail.

“After spending five years at university (I did the last two on a part-time basis so I could enjoy it rather than being stressed out!), the majority of the work is going to be from those five years, but if ever I don’t know what to do, I head for the sea.

“I was brought up in East Wittering, and most of my childhood was spent there and at school in Chichester. Having lived abroad, as soon as I came back, it felt like proper home. I live in Bosham now, and it doesn’t do it for me, not having the big horizons. I love the horizon and the huge skies. It’s about memories. It’s about when you feel dogged down by the minutiae of every-day life, you look at the horizons and you feel good.”

More details on www.carolynmackwood.com.

Taking part in the Art Trail for the first time is garden sculptor Simon Hempsell, also based in Bosham. “We only really started making stuff back in about September or October.

“I have always wanted to have sculpture in my own garden, and I half couldn’t afford it, half wanted to have ideas of my own. I trained as a graphic designer and photographer, and there are illustration programmes that I am used to using. I was dabbling, and someone said I should try to design something.”

Simon works in sheet steel. He creates the design on his computer, and then the steel is laser cut in Sheffield: “I contacted everybody locally to see if they would do it, but they were not interested. I actually come from Sheffield, and I get it done by a company up there.

“They are a large company, but the chaps like doing my things because it is different for them.”

Among his works so far are deer, inspired by the deer he can see in the fields close to his home.

More details on www.gardenartandsculpture.co.uk.

/blob/ On May 3, 4 and 5 and then May 10 and 11 from 10.30am-5.30pm, Chichester Art Trail offers its highest-ever number of artists in more than 100 venues opening their studios to the public.

For the visitors, it’s the chance to explore a series of trails radiating from the city to the Witterings, Bognor Regis, Ford, Slindon, Charlton, East Marden and Emsworth.

You won’t just see the art; you will see the artists actually creating it across the full range, from painters, printmakers, potters, weavers and photographers to jewellers, sculptors, textile artists, stained-glass workers and more. All will be happy to answer any questions you may have about their techniques, inspiration and processes.

Trail Guides are available at council offices, tourist information offices and from The Coln Gallery and Oxmarket Centre of Arts. Guides will also be available at each venue during the event. Entry is free. More details on www.chichesterarttrail.org or chichester@openhouseart.co.uk.