Bellarine Arts Trail: Artist studios, artist collectives and local galleries open their doors

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Bellarine Arts Trail: Artist studios, artist collectives and local galleries open their doors

The Bellarine Arts Trail offers a way for art lovers to gain insight into more than 40 local artists’ practice and their creative environments. Forté chat to one of the Arts Trail’s featured artist Libbet Loughnan, a local artist who works in acrylic on wood, watercolour on paper and sculptures depicting animals, portraits and stories, and who recently returned from showcasing her art overseas.

Hi Libbet, thanks for chatting to Forte Mag. This is the first time the Arts Trail has been on the Bellarine. How did you get involved with this particular event?
I randomly went to an exhibition of Chelsea Gustafsson and loved her work and realised that like me, she lives in Barwon Heads. I have been away for 13 years and was a bit out of the know. She told me about this and so I found the organiser Karen and arranged our venue.

What can visitors expect to see from you along the Arts Trail?
They can expect to see me at venue #14. I will have opened up one of Barwon Head’s beautiful old beach houses – my grandmother’s house called “Hualpa”. There, myself and four very talented artists will have laid out our work throughout its rooms and veranda. There will be Lucy McEachern and her strong but elegant bird sculptures in bronze, Chelsea (mentioned above) and her delicately detailed paintings, the galleriest and painter Serena Zlatnik, and Miljan Suknovic, a novel international pop-up, and I’ll have about 30 pieces up. We’ll have afternoon tea available and some music on – it will be quite relaxed.

In your opinion, why do you think events like this art so important for the arts community?
Events like this are great for the arts community because they have us coming together. I guess it helps us contextualise ourselves. I think everyone could do with more art in life, and comedy, which I think is an art anyway. Art isn’t aside from life, so to have the weekend inviting everyone to see this area through an art lens is good for us – that thread is always here, but for the particular weekend, that is the string that will be amplified.

Is there always a story behind every piece of work you create, or does it vary?
There is a story behind every piece of work. Actually perhaps a third of my pieces now are commissions and so largely the story is someone else’s, however it’s not a photograph. It’s mainly their story but there are always layers and mine is the subtext. I’m not very sophisticated talking about my work and often just have to say I paint stories I can’t get out of my head. We obviously accidentally and sometimes purposefully curate our own memories or perspectives, and if I’m going to work on a piece it will be on a theme I want to contemplate.

What’s the biggest thing that working as an artist has taught you?
I tend to be too serious if I don’t have art. To bounce off something I saw a few weeks ago scribbled on Brett Whiteley’s studio wall: I do art in order to try to see. He, Gabori, and Olsen, represented the past present and future, surrealism, abstraction and impressionism – cohesively. I can’t do even a bit of that mix yet. But in my dreams.

Check out the Trail Maps at

When & Where: Artist studios in Barwon Heads and Ocean Grove, Bellarine Peninsula – October 29 – 30