Monthly Archives: July 2009

Art in the Orchard

Fowle Hall Features is an arts event set in a small Kent orchard near Paddock Wood. It has run for 3 years now and is organised by a group of London based artists bringing their creativity in its various forms to a rural audience.

FHF III stage

This year they brought a number of Kent based artists into the mix to give it more of a local flavour. The aim of the event is to create a culture that values the space and time where artists can share openly and make new connections.


Within the show there were a variety of themes and common threads between the visual artists; broadly speaking an interest in different aspects of spirituality (or identity) which seemed to act as a gelling agent between everyone involved –  including the musicians, poets and visitors during the preview evening.


As we discussed our work during the organised critiques, I noticed recurring themes emerged as driving concerns behind our work, such as personal narrative, memory (collective and personal) memorial and honour, loss and renewal. I found this to be enriching; especially to learn from artists working in different mediums from myself, where there was a confluence of ideas as well as a diversity of approaches. I think the success was in the combination of sensitive selection by the organisers and the already existing friendships which were being nurtured.

Some work on display

What impacted me the most in terms of the progression of my own work was the idea of honour which was apparent in a couple of the artists work, for example:

Niki's work

Kent based artist Niki Campbell built an installation consisting of plaster cast mangos adorned with photographs of her mother who lived in India before coming to settle in the UK in the 60s. The mangos were placed under an apple tree which took on dual functionality; a surrogate for the mango tree in her Mother’s Indian garden and a memorial to her Mother’s dream of the rural-Idyll lifestyle envisaged for the future before her arrival in England. London life turned out differently.

Artists’ websites:

Preview acts

Copyright © 2009 Jonathan Bentall

Posted in art, Painting | Tagged , |

Future Creative

1. Describe your creative process in relation to the following four headings:

Question Connect Imagine Reflect

I view my creative approach as an enquiry of the five senses. There is the Question of looking which when translated to the issue of re-presentation brings up questions such as: What can be included or excluded? What is essential or peripheral? The answers to these questions will involve questions pertaining to the other senses. For example, touch; how does the paint feel in my hands or between my toes? Another question might be: What would happen if I limited one of the senses? Lately I have been painting through limited visual stimuli. This has resulted in bringing other senses to the fore, like hearing, in the creation of a work. Instead of looking at nature, I can hear it through the window and this feeds into the creative process.

Inside Outside

Generally my practice builds on smaller questions which are thrown up along the path as I begin a particular work or project.

The need to Connect and re-connect is an ongoing issue. My current work is about issues of spirituality in art and I experience this as a form of connectedness; a passionate engagement with the creative process which I relate to the concept of ‘flow’.

water baptism

The flow is temporal, so I am concerned about finding ways to re-establish the lost connection. I am also concerned about connecting to the viewer of my art since the receiving of the work is pivotal in consolidating its meaning and value. My creative process is therefore a shared experience. I look for ways to connect with other artists, or creatives in other disciplines, share ideas and allow this connectedness to inform my processes. Out of this comes a rootedness to life in relationship; this locates my work in a collective sense.

I recognise that to Imagine is to draw upon memory and therefore remembrance. This relates to my personal narrative which evolves through the guidance of my imagination.


I am specific and intentional about the role of my imagination as a vehicle to positive outcomes; the freedom to imagine creatively locates the past with the future and reconciles the two with hope. This is the sustainable basis of my practice. I see an enlivened imagination as the evidence of a heart at rest with itself, when permission has been given to be oneself. I always hold before me the thought that the fruit of my imagination is born from my attitude. In this way my best ideas stem from my attitude which then steers my imagination to a productive place of idea formation. These ideas are the result of working through questions like: How could my learning environment have been adapted to my learning needs as a child?

My first sculpture

I Reflect after a creative session as a means to evaluate outcomes and the process that lead to them. The reflective process is a significant part of the creative cycle and I spend a lot of time there.


I will try to piece together the particular nature of what was done in order to see the context more clearly and place the work produced within a mental framework. This may not always lead to definitive awareness, but usually the act of reflection positions the experience and artwork within the framework of a discernable statement and results in the right title for the work. When that happens I will always believe in the authenticity of the title as a reflection of the creative process. The reflective stage usually helps me to clarify further goals to move forward.

2. What currently inspires you to create?

I work with mixed media (acrylic, oil, pastel, charcoal, ink and pencil) on hardboard, canvas and paper to encourage a varied and dynamic material process.

materials and work area

I am currently inspired by the idea of the invisible, inner core of a painting sought in the tradition of the mystics leaning toward the lyrical or poetic.  Signposts along the way are usually marked by a combination of formal integrity and suggested narrative. The latter might be a spiritual idea, a personal history, a remembered poem, story, rhyme or an imagined place which then consolidates the work as meaningful:

Execution =Work = Concept

Instead of:

Concept = Execution = Work.

Copyright © 2009 Jonathan Bentall

Posted in art, Painting | Tagged , , , , , |