Pilgrimage - A Portrait of HCPT

 

I’ve always thought of myself as very lucky doing something that inspires me. Walking into my studio every day still fills me with joy and excitement. I am so fortunate that my life revolves around my job as an artist.

For one week a year that all changes. Each Easter I close my studio down, regardless of deadlines or work pressures, for my other passion in life – HCPT.

 

HCPT takes disabled and disadvantaged children to Lourdes in the south of France at Easter. The benefits the stay has on the children we take in our group (HCPT Group 141, based in Devon) is always staggering – be it in terms of their independence, self-esteem or simply little, but important, achievements that they attain during the week. It also, in many cases, provides much needed respite for the parents and carers back home.

Put simply, the week gives people hope. My saddest and happiest experiences have been in Lourdes. It’s a place where I feel deeply connected to the most basic human emotions of love, hope, fear, joy and faith. It is a place of extremes. I’ve never experienced anywhere else you can witness incredible joys and deep sorrows in such a short space of time. It really is a remarkable place.

I’ve always wanted to do something that combines my day job as an artist and my week in Lourdes. However, as the pilgrimage is so deeply important to me, I’ve kept them separate until I could find a truly meaningful way of bringing them together. I’ve never taken on a project that is so deeply personal before, and it won’t be an easy journey. However, I’m sure my passion for HCPT’s work will shine through to create something truly special.

 

With the project I’ll explore the work of HCPT through a collection of portraits. Some will be large group portraits full of life, laughter and noise – while others will be quiet, intimate and delicate. I want each painting to capture an easily missed moment of care and deep love that are seen in Lourdes. I hope the collection of paintings will eventually give a true and vibrant flavour of an HCPT pilgrimage – be it at Easter or Summer.”

In collaboration with:

Jurassic Coast, 95 miles of coastline

3 years of art

The sea has always been a major part of my life, and painting the coastline is an important aspect of my artwork. I’ve spent time painting in Cornwall and most of Devon, but the Jurassic Coast was an area that I hadn’t explored enough.

The geology had always fascinated me but it’s something I had very little knowledge of. Since late 2016 I’ve been working with the Jurassic Coast Trust’s volunteer Ambassadors to gain an understanding of the geology, history and people that comprise this incredible World Heritage Site.

This culminated in an exhibition at Sidmouth’s Kennaway House in October 2017, showcasing landscapes from East Devon’s section of the Jurassic Coast, as well as portraits of eight of the Ambassadors.

In 2018, I’m turning my attention to West Dorset, painting iconic landmarks like Golden Cap, Chesil Beach and the Isle of Portland as well as a new set of Jurassic Coast Ambassadors’ portraits.

For further information about the Jurassic Coast Art Project

 

In collaboration with:

Jurassic Coast Trust logo

Ambassador Portraits

In collaboration with the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. A four year project.

John Wokersien by Colin Bentley

The Jurassic Coast Ambassadors are a diverse group of people who give their time voluntarily to further the cause of the Jurassic Coast Trust by leading walks, giving talks, assisting at events or writing articles. They also act as advocates in their local communities, telling people about the World Heritage Site and what makes it globally unique.

The Jurassic Coast’s landscapes are an obvious starting point for an artist to explore its character, but its people are often overlooked.
Working with the Ambassadors over the past year has made me realise that this coast’s human connection is equally as important as its dramatic geology.

The portraits are my way of recording the people I encounter on my journey across the World Heritage Site; their input and enthusiasm has made me look at this coast in a whole new light.

Colin Bentley.

 

 

In collaboration with:

Jurassic Coast Trust logo