Exhibition: Dominic Wheadon’s Local Waters

Alongside occasionally hosting temporary exhibitions, the walls of the Bella are home to a permanent collection of art that celebrates Guernsey’s local waters and the abundance of fresh produce that it provides.

Featuring many of the fish and shellfish that diners at the Bella might find on our menus, the collection of paintings, in the style of classic zoological illustrations, were created by artist Dominic Wheadon who is the brother of two of the Bella’s owners. Dominic is a talented career artist who has worked internationally across many different mediums, including a period working in the film industry alongside exhibiting his personal work. Having returned to his roots in Guernsey in recent years, we wasted little time in offering up the walls of the Bella’s public spaces to Dominic to showcase his incredible paintings of Guernsey’s sea-life and coastal surrounds through a local artist’s eyes. We recently sat down with Dominic to find out a bit more about his work and his inspirations.

Has it been easy to find inspiration for your art, since returning to Guernsey?

The simple answer is yes. There is so much to inspire an artist in Guernsey: the coast, the cliffs, the fish, beautiful beaches, big skies, the other islands, the people and the history. I’m very lucky to be able to return and see and appreciate the island through fresh and older eyes.

Have you always been creative, or is it something that you developed and grew into?

Yes, I’ve always been creative from as early as I can remember. I was always drawing and making things with Plasticine or Lego as a child and this most likely led me to my career in model making. Painting also runs in the family, as my father and grandfather were both talented artists and my father encouraged me to go into creative work. Being creative Is just something I’ve always done, and won’t stop doing.

The oceans and the life that exists below the surface have been a fairly constant theme in your personal artwork over the years. Where does this interest and connection come from?

I have loved fishing since I was as a kid, I still do (although I’m not that good at it). Growing up with the sea so close, I always spent my free time on the rocks or at the beach. I would also say however that I saw a lot more fish as a kid, even just when swimming at Cobo. Fish just aren’t here in the numbers that they used to be.

As an artist, light and colour are two of the things that you must try to interpret. Is the challenge of painting fish and their scales something that you’ve pursued on purpose?

Painting fish is a challenge; they are beautiful things to try to capture in a painting, each one totally individual and different to paint. I will paint any type, from Caboos, Seabass, Tuna, Mackerel to Basking Sharks... I want to paint them all!

As an artist, what’s your favourite piece from the set that hangs here at the Bella?

The large oil on canvas Seabass... it’s a truly beautiful fish and I had fun painting this one. I also enjoy catching the odd Seabass too! I hope to do more large canvases in a similar style to the Seabass in the future.

Dominic's paintings can found throughout the Bella's entrance lobby, restaurant, bar and cellar lounge.  We invite you to pay us a visit for dinner or drinks from April 1st onwards, and enjoy the exhibited artwork.   

Written by:

Bella Luce