Artist Profile - Gillian Bellas


I began messing about in art about 20 years ago. I was working in a high stress public service department and had tried various ways of 'de-stressing' - such as tap dancing and Tai Chi - but nothing seemed to take my mind of the pressures of work. Then Mum, a talented amateur painter in her own right, suggested I take up art. I had never thought of myself as having any ability as an artist but taking Mums advice I gave it a go. From my first class with Cynthia Watsford – a talented watercolourist – I have enjoyed being part of the whole art scene.

I am a member of a number of art groups and organisations including the Artists Society of Canberra; Megalo; The Canberra Institute of Botanical Art, and The Botanical Art Group of the Friends of the ANBG.

I participate in classes and workshops as often as possible; from every tutor you can gain something - a new technique, a new way of looking, or advice on how to improve your art works. There is always room for improvement and new ideas.

Most importantly I have always found other artists to be friendly, open and helpful. Being involved in art is great fun and a great adventure. Mum was right.

Now in retirement I enjoy gardening, bush walking and generally being outdoors. I try to capture the beauty of the environment in my art work. Plants are amazing in their diversity and complexity and as a person who has had a life long interest in things scientific, and particularly botanical, I try to capture this diversity and complexity in my art works. I paint purely as a hobby and because I have so many other interests my finished art output is very limited.

Experience, awards and teaching

I won First Prize in the Print making section at the Annual Exhibition of the Artists Society of Canberra in both 2010 and 2011. In 2011 my painting of Hibbertia was selected as the Exhibition Image for the 2011 4th Art in the Garden with Friends Exhibition at the ANBG.