Newmarket-based artist Amanda Barrett studied at the British Institute, Florence (Renaissance Art), Brighton Art College (Fine Art Painting) and Chelsea School of Art (Graphic Design). Having been a Graphic Designer and Illustrator in the UK and Australia she has spent the last half-decade painting more en plein air. Her art practice now focuses on observation, rhythm and stroke-making, and the use of colour in transparency and layers.
“Huge thanks to the following: Trevor Osborne who kick-started me back into painting through his inspirational teaching, James Colman founder of Paint Out whose vision has inspired many to leave their studios and come outside and just paint!, Michael Carlo RA who showed me the art of not being precious through wood cutting and print making. And my father John Barrett who from the most disadvantaged start fought through the depression to achieve his ambition, he taught me to learn from setbacks, be true to your instincts and be up for the challenge whatever the outcome!”
Paint Out History
Paint Out Norfolk – Third prize (2020), selected and participated (2019)
Paint Out Norfolk Gardens – Judges Commendation (2019)
Paint Out Holt, selected and participated (2019)
Paint Out Wells, selected and participated (2019)
Paint Out Cambridge, selected and participated (2019)
The inaugural Paint Out Cambridge took place this week and saw over 140 paintings created, each in under 3 hours, across the days and early evenings of 13-15 May. Some 30 plein air artists took to the streets of Cambridge painting its classic colleges, beautiful bridges, meandering River Cam and idyllic meadows with cows, geese and swans, the bustling Market Square, canal boats, punts and of course, bicycles, everywhere.
The successful outdoor art event, run in Norfolk since 2014, finally arrived in Cambridge – aided by partnering with Cheffins Fine Art, whose head of paintings, Sarah Flynn, acted as one of the event judges.
Cass Art donated art vouchers for all participants and the three category winners took home £350 each as well as a box of Cass Art supplies. Artist Robert Nelmes won in Oils, Andrew Horrod in Acrylics, and Susanna Field in Watercolours and Mixed Media.
Judge’s honourable mentions and £100 each went to Stephen Johnston, David Wood, and Sarah Allbrook who also sold 5 paintings at the Private View. Dan Llywelyn Hall was noted in dispatches for his imaginative artworks and titling, and the Spirit of Cambridge and £100 went to Alice Thomson for the energy and vibrancy of her illustrative works which also sold well. The paintings were shown at Cheffins Fine Art on Clifton Road until 17 May and a number will be available online at Paint Out Cambridge 2019 gallery.
The artists painted around Cambridge at some of the many locations on this map, taking in ‘town and gown’, the city market and spires, colleges, and countryside on your doorstep that exists along the Backs, greens, ‘pieces’, meadows and fens.
The winning paintings featured Gonville and Caius College (Robert Nelmes), twilight on King’s Parade (Susanna Field), and Portugal Street from Jesus Green (Andrew Horrod).
The judges were allowed their own personal commendations with London artist Alice Hall choosing Stephen Johnston’s ‘View from the Master’s Garden’ at Trinity looking towards Kitchen Bridge, St John’s College. Local artist and writer James Horton selected local Cambridge artist David Wood’s classic watercolour of Westcott House on Jesus Lane. Head of paintings at Cheffins Fine Art, Sarah Flynn – who also judged at the long-running Paint Out Norwich competition last year, chose Cambridge-based artist Sarah Allbrook’s view south on the River Cam from Garret Hostel Bridge.
The Spirit of Cambridge award won by Girton-based artist Alice Thomson featured Magdalene Bridge with its punts, bicycles and the views towards Magdalene College and St Giles (Parish of the Ascension) on the slight hill on the horizon – our hospitable hub for the week of painting.
Paint Out is grateful for the packed turnout at the Private View on Thursday 16 May and warm welcome received in the city of Cambridge, particularly from the council when our artists were massed around the Market on Wednesday. Hopefully, Paint Out Cambridge 2019 will just be our first foray into this fascinating city and see us return, perhaps next year.
We have other art events beginning 26 May through to October scheduled in Norfolk historic gardens, at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, and at the Holt Festival. Artists can enter any or all of these to continue to push and present their plein air practice to interested art lovers with a growing interest in and respect of the plein air painting tradition.
The inaugural Paint Out Cambridge takes place 13-17 May in partnership with Cheffins Fine Art. Dozens of experienced plein air artists used to working on the streets will paint Cambridge’s classic colleges, chapels and beautiful bridges, River Cam, Market Square and other views as seen on this map.
Founded in 2014, the immersive outdoor art event has already run a dozen events across Norfolk and Suffolk and has been keen to come to Cambridge for a while. Partnering with Cheffins Fine Art has finally made this possible and the Paint Out team are excited to be running the competition, encouraging artists to capture and immortalise Cambridge’s iconic views.
Who could resist a city that drew JMW Turner to its banks to paint Clare Hall and King’s College Chapel, whilst also being home to the Fitzwilliam and Kettle’s Yard and a series of famous art collections at several Cambridge colleges?
“Cambridge has long been on our radar but with new partners Cheffins Fine Art now on board, the realisation of a central exhibition venue as well as other potential sponsors lining up to host various parts of the Paint Out, we see this is an event that will have multiple opportunities for artists to paint both town and gown in one of the most vibrant and fast-growing cities in the UK.” – James Colman, founder of Paint Out
Home to the Cambridge School of Art (now part of Anglia Ruskin University) and the Cambridge Drawing Society the team from Paint Out are keen to see local and national artists casting their creative eyes over the city and bringing their art skills to bear in classical and contemporary styles and various media that can be applied to canvas.
“Following the plein air painting event’s success at Paint Out, Norwich, last year, we are excited to support Paint-Out’s inaugural competition in Cambridge. Cambridge has long been an inspiration for artists such as Gwen Raverat, Edwin La Dell and Elisabeth Vellacott and with its iconic and world-recognised architecture and views such as the Mathematical Bridge, King’s College, Rose Crescent and The Backs, we are sure that it will provide endless inspiration for the artists taking part. Plein air painting is an essential part of learning to paint landscape from life and anything to encourage its proliferation within the artistic community is well supported. As the leading fine art auction house in the region, Cheffins is proud to support art events locally and is pleased to support the growth of Paint Out throughout East Anglia.”
The juried painting competition is open to amateur and professional artists alike and features 3-hour and 2-hour painting sessions around the city in full public view during the days and evenings (‘nocturnes’) of 13-15 May. Three eminent judges from the world of fine art (Sarah Flynn, Alice Hall, James Horton) will select the winning pieces with circa £2,000 worth of prizes awarded at the Private View and Awards evening at Cheffins on Clifton Road, on the 16 May (more information email firstname.lastname@example.org). The finished artworks will remain on display until 17 May and typically range in price from £150-£850.
Alice Hall is an en plein air painter focusing on landscapes. When she sets out to paint, she looks more like a vagrant than an artist: Wearing many warming layers of paint-encrusted clothing and carrying a rucksack full with paints, pallets, brushes and much more essential clobber besides. She sets up her impromptu studio and starts to work, first sketching the composition and then building up areas of colour. The aim being to capture character and mood, while being truthful to the subject. “Hall sets out to distill that moment when even the mundane can be magical. As you look at her paintings, you can travel to another land too.” – Rachel Campbell Johnston, Art Critic, The Times
James Horton works continually from life whether at Portraits, landscapes or interiors. Since leaving the Royal College of Art in 1974, the Cambridge based artist has travelled, worked and exhibited on location all over the world. Since 2000, he has concentrated on trips to India, Tuscany, North Africa and Jordan. His plein air work is rarely adjusted back in the studio, preserving the essence of time and place. He has written numerous books including the well known ‘Pastel techniques’ (Chrysalis) and ‘An Introduction to Drawing’ (DK in association with The Royal Academy).
Part-time teacher and artist, Stephen Johnston lives in Norwich and regularly paints with the Norwich Outdoor Painting Group. He first participated at Paint Out Norwich in 2017 and also entered two Paint Out events in 2018. In 2019, he was the only artist to manage all 7 Paint Out Gardens visits around the county of Norfolk across the seasons producing 14 artworks and winning Third Prize at the Awards and Exhibition.
He describes himself as a creative person who gains much satisfaction from producing artwork.
“Being outdoors and in nature’s grip gives me space to be inspired and refreshed. The process is the most important aspect in my journey, I am often dissatisfied with the results but keep the outcome as a record of my observations, aspirations, application, time spent outdoors painting plein air.” – Stephen Johnston
Emily Faludy studied Fine Art at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, where, she was focused on portrait painting. Since then, the Kent countryside, a remote Greek mountainside, and now Hampshire, all provide her with an outdoor studio to pursue plein air landscape art. She describes the “the whole of nature as her true studio” and sees life as “one long painting trip…”.
“I have been painting plein air in oils for almost a decade now, since the urge came upon me on a cold, soggy, November day in 2009, when I packed up a canvas in a cardboard box and headed out into the first place outside of London I thought of as ‘countryside’ – Kent. I was equal measures miserable and exhilarated, and since then I have painted in a variety of climes.”
Whilst Emily won First Prize in Oils at Paint Out Norwich in 2017, just months after going full-time professional, she has also taken to painting nocturnes with vigour and an impassioned strength and use of impasto paint layers.
“Ever since I first painted plein air, I have been addicted not just to the results (irrefutably different to studio painting in terms of freshness and feeling), but to the whole process and feel of working outside – of being part of the day in a way I don’t feel anything else does. It brings with it so many wonderful, bizarre and beautiful experiences, from unusual weather to the people you meet, to just being wholeheartedly present with the day. There is nothing quite like it and I am honoured and extremely grateful that this is both my ‘job’, and my passion.
2017 was my first Paint Out, and I was still relatively new to plein air painting, having only started pursuing it properly around 18 months before. I was so excited to find myself amongst a like-minded group of artists, and such an enthusiastic team of organisers and volunteers. Painting can seem lonely sometimes and it was wonderful to be out, doing what I normally do on my own with a group, and to have people to discuss the experience with afterwards. The feeling of camaraderie was really something special.
I was ecstatic to win the ‘Oils’ category that year, the first time I had ever won an award. That affirmation that my efforts since I had started painting plein air had not been in vain was priceless to me, and gave me a confidence I had lacked before. It felt like a significant marker point at the beginning of my career, as it seemed to kickstart a series of events which has included being shown at two galleries, winning an award at another plein air event, and being accepted into the Royal Society of Marine Artists’ annual show for the first time this year.
Paint Out has become not just my favourite painting event, but actually my favourite event in the year, full stop! I’m excited about what they will come up with next time…”
AndrewFarmer is a professional artist living and working in Yorkshire, one of the ‘The Northern Boys’, who paints primarily in oils exclusively from observation. He has a First Class Degree in Fine Art Painting from Canterbury Christ Church University and distinctions in Art from Church View College, Doncaster. He completed an MA at The Royal Drawing School, London.
“As I’ve developed over the years, my work has become much looser in the handling of paint, creating works which are lively and sometimes verging on the semi-abstract…I try to sum up my subject matter using economical mark making, colour and drawing.”
Describing outdoor painting and the countryside as “permeating” him, he loves to paint en plein air citing Constable, Monet, Sisley, Marquet, as artistic heroes and inspiration.
At his first Paint Out, Andrew received a judge’s commendation from Tony Robinson, an experienced artist himself, and founder of Art in the Open.
NEAC Mall Galleries London, Northern Landscape painting, Haworth Prize – Shortlisted (2016)
ROI Mall Galleries, Windsor and Newton Award for Oil Painting (2015)
Prince’s Drawing School, Prado Residency in Madrid, Richard Ford Award for drawing (2009)
Susan Isaac trained in fine art at Cardiff and Newport Art Colleges. Design history at Brighton followed and then industrial archaeology at Birmingham University. She initially worked as an illustrator and surveyor of historic buildings and landscapes before turning to painting and sculpture full-time at the turn of the millennium.
“A central theme in my paintings is a search for those particular characteristics that define British towns and countryside. I seek to convey this in a distinctive loose figurative style, drawing on my early fine art training whilst continuing to reflect influences from my time studying industrial landscapes and the built environment.”
Susan’s practice is a mixture of studio work and en plein air work and she first tried her hand at Paint Out at Wells-next-the-Sea 2017 before entering the Norwich event.
“I instantly fell in love with the whole thing and have taken part each year since. This juried, leading exponent of plein air practice is also a tremendous collective event with similarly motivated and yet singular artists each focussed on their own way of working.”
In 2018, she won the Nocturne First Prize for her 2-hour oil painting, “Up The Steps”, painted from the rear of St Peter Mancroft with its eerie gothic feel late at night lit by a single street lamp. In 2019 and 2020 she walked away with first prizes in Oils and then the overall competition prize.
“I was pleased with the theatrical effect of this composition and the slight sense of foreboding and mystery. It also made me think of an emptied auditorium, its proscenium lights inverted and cast upon the emptied raked seating, following the days performance. “ – Susan Isaac [more on the creation of her Nocturne winner here]
Her works are definitely distinctive, often described as dark, reminiscent of John Piper and his love of brooding landscapes and iconic churches. There is always a strength to Susan’s works in her choices of subject, composition, and contrast.
Buxton Spa Prize Open Art Competition – International Festival Choice (2017)
Leicester and East Midlands Art Exhibition – Open26 winner of Wilson Brown Prize (2015)
Oxford Art Prize plein air competition – winner of 1851 prize (2015)
Artist & Leisure Painter Open Art Competition – winner of Winsor & Newton Award (2015)
Thoresby Gallery Open Exhibition – exhibition prize & Tony Wilkinson Prize (2011, 2012, 2015)
Rob Pointon graduated with a First Class Honours degree in Fine Art from Aberystwyth University before going on to study at The Royal Drawing School in London.
Rob paints entirely en plein air and has a particular interest in the use of multiple point perspective and movement within his paintings, evidenced strongly with his depiction of water and crowds. Painting on location brings an added dynamic to his work, galvanised by the engagement with the passing audience who can witness the development of a painting as it happens.
As well as the RBSA, Rob is a member of MAFA (Manchester Academy of Fine Arts) and exhibits regularly in the ROI and NEAC exhibitions.
Between 2016-2019 he is the International Artist in Residence for Manchester Airport, travelling to different direct destinations and bringing back
exhibitions of work to be showcased in the terminals
At his first entry into the Paint Out Norwich competition in 2018, Rob won First Prize in Oils and overall competition winner, sponsored by Leathes Prior.
“PaintOut has been a thoroughly life-enriching experience for me, it’s the first time I have entered the competition and despite having competed in other one day painting events was surprised at the intensity of the 5 day competition with back to back days of nearly 12 hours of competitive painting. I don’t normally work alla prima so to push through so many works in a short space of time was a tough but a healthy challenge. Having the competition over a number of days meant I had time to settle in to the beautiful city of Norwich and get past the obvious subjects, but more importantly was to gradually settle into a community of like-minded passionate artists, all giving their all for their craft, but at the same time helping and supporting one another. I have made a number of good friends and look forward to seeing them again at future events. Crammed in-between the intense periods of painting were high-level artist demonstrations and a number of superb lectures by excellent knowledgeable speakers. Before you have chance to catch a breath the work is displayed in the spectacular setting of Norwich Cathedral with wet paint warning signs and a busy Private View. To walk off with a number of prizes including Overall Winner was the icing on the cake! I look forward to future PaintOut events”
Winsor & Newton Artist Award, 2nd Prize U35, ROI Annual Exhibition (2016)
Haworth Prize Winner, New English Art Club (2016)
Buxton Spa Prize, 3rd Prize (2016)
ROI Paint Live Competition, 2nd Prize (Dec 2015)
Buxton Spa Prize, 2nd Place People’s Choice (2015)
Buxton Spa Prize, Buxton Festival Choice Prize (2015)
Staffordshire Open, Shire Hall Gallery, 1st Prize (2014)
“I love exploring the diversity of the architecture of Norwich, seeing the different architecture styles because it is such a historic city. Hopefully my paintings bring a fresh perspective to Norwich. I hope they make the people of Norwich look at their own city differently.” – Rob Pointon, EDP
Karen Adams works in large and small scale having exhibited in The Brancaster Staithe Midsummer Exhibition and painted murals for the Brancaster Staithe Sailing Club’s Annual Summer Ball. Her preferred medium is oil painting in which she paints a variety of landscapes but particularly enjoys painting beaches – where she initially encountered and participated in Paint Out Wells first beach sunrise ‘paint out’ in 2015 – marshes and boats in Norfolk, and street scenes. She now travels to paint and continues to grow in consistency and quality securing her first Paint Out prizes in 2017 & 2018.
John Behm has a natural affinity for the landscape of Norfolk and the Scottish borders where he was occupied in the conception and execution of public sculptures. He had been unable to work for a while due to a near fatal accident but fortunately has sufficiently recovered to be back to creating art and sculptures and has been making some beautiful paintings en plein air.
John studied Drawing & Painting, Sculpture and Architectural Design in the US, and at the Edinburgh College of Art.
Several decades of working within art and design with turns in teaching, writing, portraits, life-drawing, and several exhibitions means that John has a strong background in art that he is currently augmenting by studying Art History. He has numerous sculptures on past and/or present display in Scotland and Norfolk, as well as work in public collections including the City of York, the National Museums of Scotland, “The House for an Art Lover” in Glasgow, and the Coldstream Museum.
Whilst mainly painting in oils, when not carving stone and wood, and casting sculptures in bronze, he has occasionally gone mixed media including adding twigs to a three-dimensional painting at Paint Out events; he is always willing to try something new. His preference of subject includes landscape as palimpsest, the spirit of place human experience, history, family, and sensory delights.
John says of his work that:
“The idea is first, then I choose the medium – paint, wood, bronze, steel, stone, film. The word ‘art’ comes from Sanskrit, from a root meaning simply to make: it’s the making, and what, that keeps me going.”
John made the press when, in 2018, he dived into the River Wensum to rescue fellow artist and Paint Out founder James Colman’s artwork that has fallen in, easel and all, and was floating face-up in the water, heading towards Fye Bridge. Despite the October chill, John handed over his own painting, stripped off his art clothes, mounted the bridge wall and dived in the cold river to cheers from onlookers. He swam towards the waterlogged gouache and dragged it to dry land, lifesaver-style!
Now a four-times winner of the Paint OutSpirit of Plein Air prize in two locations, John is renowned for getting into deep water! Back in 2009, he waded chest-deep into the sea to install bronze sculptures in the sea off the Berwickshire coast. “All in the name of art,” was his explanation or perhaps excuse, looking for any reason to get wet!
“Ultimately it was an adventure that took us over two hours in the sea wading about bringing everything ashore. We lit a fire to warm ourselves up then installed the waymark without two much trouble.” – John Behm