Lewes artist Adele Gibson

Sunset at Exceat

Sunset at Exceat - Credit: Archant

“Being an artist was my secret dream while growing up,” says Adele Gibson. “I always loved painting, and although I had a career in business I studied painting in my spare time and always took my sketchbook on holiday with me. I gave up my business career when I had my children and painting has gradually grown over the last eight years into the passion that it now is.”

Mist at Beacon

Mist at Beacon - Credit: Archant

Before taking to the easel, Adele taught Chemistry at secondary level and she has also worked in IT. “When I worked as a business analyst I would sometimes go for a walk in my lunch hour and feel almost physically sick when I had to go back to the office afterwards. It’s an understatement to say that it’s probably a good thing that I gave that up after having my second child.”

Adele says that her favourite piece is always the one that she is working on or has just finished. “There is always the optimistic hope at the beginning of a piece of work that this piece is going to be the ‘one’,” she says. “My most recently finished painting is special for me because it’s based on the memory of an amazing sunset that my family and I stopped the car to watch together in appreciative awe.”

Adele creates drawings in ink, graphite and acrylic in her sketchbook and paints plein air (outdoor) studies. In terms of becoming an artist and how to get in to it, she says simply, “I think if you are destined to be an artist then you will do it regardless of what anyone else tells you. You may have to be open-minded about doing other work until your art starts to provide an income.” But by way of encouragement she goes on to say, “I wake up thinking about painting and just love doing what I do. Painting brings me a sense of inner harmony.”

Although now a Lewes resident, before she came to Sussex Adele lived quite a nomadic life, travelling around the world, and never spending more than a couple of years in any one place. “I have now lived here for 30 years and have put down deep roots – I can’t really imagine living anywhere else. The most special thing about our house is the views over the Downs.”

Adele says that she is inspired primarily by light, and loves the expansiveness of our downland landscape. “I spend long periods of time outdoors and enjoy the fact that I rarely miss a sunrise or sunset as they are my most special times of the day. I prefer autumn and winter for painting as the skies are often more atmospheric and spectacular. I am also moved by poetry and classical music and have created paintings in response to music that I listen to while I work. I never tire of walking the same paths onto the Downs as the scenery can change dramatically with different weather and light conditions.”

Adele also takes commissions and loves working with clients to understand what it is about a particular landscape that they love and want to look at on a daily basis. “I try to avoid matching a painting to the décor of a room but can work within some loosely defined colour requirements.”

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At home Adele has a lovely studio at the bottom of her garden, which was built by a friend. “He normally works on larger buildings but I gave him a photo of the kind of thing I was looking for and he designed it from that. It’s a green space with excellent insulation, solar-powered lighting and a gas stove for winter. It’s a wonderful quiet haven and my dogs and cat settle outside the door when I’m in there.”

Adele has exhibited in galleries in Brighton, Rottingdean, Lewes and Horsham and also at Open House events. She currently has an exhibition at Horsham Art gallery and Museum which runs throughout December. “It’s a collaboration with a photographer friend and is titled Present and Connect. The work stems from our experience of being present in the Sussex landscape and our deep connection with it.”


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