Norfolk Art

15 August 2012

A week’s holiday in north Norfolk. There’s no denying the beauty of the coast, the beaches, the mudflats and winding creeks. Combine that with the London money that’s swept over the region and you have a perfect recipe for a glut of artists and galleries. Each village seemed to have a show on. All the same, I liked a lot of what I saw.

1. Norfolk Arts – a group of 20 or so Norfolk artists who exhibit in various venues and hold an annual exhibition in the village hall at Burnham Overy Staithe. They include:

Penny Bhadresa – my favourite of the bunch. Stylised linocuts and prints of natural scenes and wildlife: harbours, hares, stags and seagulls. Like really superior book illustrations, bright clear colours, very evocative, sometimes mysterious and pagan. £300-£400.

Katie Millard –  lovely watercolours on cartridge paper, wash affects to create haunting landscape images of the long open Norfolk beaches, and elongated portraits of distant figures glimpsed through pine woods. Very good. £40-£100.

Helen Brown – based at The Old Pottery in Suffolk, Helen makes ceramics – hand-painted tiles, bowls, cups – decorated with natural motifs – blackbirds, sparrows, fish, hares. You can visit the pottery and watch her at work.

Virginia Wright – a glass designed based in Southwold, big plates of glass incorporating wonderfully bright bold abstract designs and colours. The big plates cost £150.

Gillian Crossley-Holland – rather impressionist oil paintings of the landscape. Good but I didn’t find particularly distinctive.

Peter Dibble – willow basket maker.

Inge-Lise Greaves – Textile accessories. Nice but not my thing, I’m afraid.

Tydd Pottery – with the best will in the world, pottery doesn’t do it for me.

Heather and Michel Ducos – working from Alford Pottery they make tableware ie plates and mugs, as well as humorous giftware. On display were a series of handbags looking soft and squishy but made of fired clay.

Joe Lawrence – wonderful animal sculptures.

2. Patrick Boswell – Patrick has published several books of paintings done as he toured areas of East Anglia eg the Broads, the coast. This exhibition at the village hall in Brancaster Staithe featured well-done but straightforward paintings of the beaches with holidaymakers, children with fishing rods etc. A kind of wobbly English impressionism 150 years after the French invented it.

3. Brancaster Camera Club – immediately after Patrick’s exhibition in the village hall was one by the Brancaster Camera Club displaying the best of their recent photos.  A nice twist was that we visitors were asked to write down our top 3 photos on a piece of paper and hand this in at the end; a popular winner will be elected and given a prize. I voted for a close up of a frog’s head emerging from pond weed, and a stunning panorama from the top of Snowdon.

(I can’t find a standalone photo by any of the photographers listed on the club website.)

(It’s worth mentioning Pebbles Photography which appears to curate and sell stunning photos of the north Norfolk countryside.)

4. Norfolk Painting School– in the old infants school of the tiny north Norfolk village of North Creake, the school offers a wide range of tuition. It is run by Martin Kinnear who also exhibits here his large and tempestuous landscape paintings.

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