Set among tropical gardens overlooking a seductive seascape, Gilly Gobinet’s working art gallery offers scenes as pretty as a picture. And that’s before one even begins to browse the delightful paintings on display.
Inside, one wall is devoted to a series of abstract watercolour nudes, another to an effervescent collection of bougainvillea and lilies tenderly recreated in acrylic. Interspersed throughout, haughty flamenco dancers kick up their heels before an exquisitely depicted audience of doe-eyed canines.
In the kitchen, cartoon rastas vie for position among pictures of pineapples, chattel houses and classic yachts. And in the bathroom, a papier mache clown offers visitors lavatory paper with one tiny scarlet hand.
In the background, the effortless timbre of Mozart adds one final whimsical flourish.
Barely a square foot of Gilly’s home-come-gallery found in a charming Fitches Creek street – a short drive from the international airport – has been excluded from this bacchanalia of colour and canvas. Hand-painted murals adorn exterior walls and even the periphery of the swimming pool.
“Inspiration is never lacking when you’re surrounded by all of this,” she says brightly, gesturing towards the ocean which abuts a stretch of unrestrained flora where bananaquits shrill contentedly as they forage.
Anyone wishing to browse Gilly’s sundry creations will be treated to a full tour of the property, beginning with the gaily embellished hallway before heading into the bathroom which houses 42 pieces alone. Hundreds more original works and prints – all of which are for sale – bedeck the interior rooms, verandah and courtyard. The latter is where Gilly can usually be found at work, brush in hand.
“Most artists are recognisable by one specific style but I am extremely versatile,” she says. “I can do anything from cartoons, to delicate pen and ink, to very detailed or loose watercolour and acrylic – practically anything anyone asks me to.”
While most of the pieces exhibited are the result of her own impulse, much of Gilly’s work is commissioned, particularly her portraits of pet dogs and cats for which she donates 10 per cent to local animal charity PAAWS. Nearly all her paintings are suitcase-friendly, or can be shipped already stretched or rolled into a tube for convenience. Greetings cards and postcards are also available.
British-born Gilly, who has lived in Antigua since 1984, adds: “What I love most is the feeling of achievement when you’ve created something you love – and you hope others will too.”
Visa and MasterCard accepted.