Artist John Behm

Artist John Behm painting like a modern Monet on the River Wensum, Paint Out Norwich 2017. Photo © Katy Jon Went
Artist John Behm painting like a modern Monet on the River Wensum, Paint Out Norwich 2017. Photo © Katy Jon Went

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.

Awards | Art Gallery | Purchase

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.

Artist John Behm painting Anglia Square outside Hollywood Cinema, Paint Out Norwich 2018. Photo © Katy Jon Went
Artist John Behm painting Anglia Square outside Hollywood Cinema, Paint Out Norwich 2018. Photo © Katy Jon Went

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.”

Artist John Behm dives in River Wensum from Fye Bridge to save another artist's painting. Photo © Katy Jon Went
Artist John Behm dives in River Wensum from Fye Bridge to save another artist’s painting. Photo © Katy Jon Went

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 Out Spirit 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

Paint Out History

Paint Out NorwichSpirit of Plein Air Award (2018)
Paint Out Norwich – selected and participated (2014-2018)
Paint Out WellsSpirit of Plein Air Award (2015, 2016)
Paint Out Wells – selected and participated (2015-2018)
Paint Out Great Yarmouth – selected and participated (2018)
Paint Out Sudbury – selected and participated (2018)


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Sponsorship, Partnering & Support

Sponsorship & Partnering with Paint Out

Paint Out is put on and sustained by art-loving founders and team members – some paid, some volunteers, with the aim of supporting the growth of plein air art and engaging the public with a live art experience. To achieve and maintain this we are indebted to our partners and sponsors who have provided funds, prizes, or goods and services-in-kind. If you would like to partner or sponsor current and/or future ‘paint outs’ please contact us. You will get coverage on our 120,000+ views website and our 10,000 social media followers. 

You can download our sponsor and partner documents here:

Paint Out Brochure | Headline Sponsor | Prizes Sponsor | Web & Press Metrics
Download Paint Out BrochureDownload Paint Out Headline Partners Sponsorship docDownload Paint Out Prize Sponsors docDownload Paint Out Web, Press & Social Media Metrics doc

Paint Out 2019

In 2019, Paint Out is keen to renew and extend its sponsor agreements with businesses, arts sector, and other organisations looking to support creative and visual arts, education, and Norfolk and Suffolk heritage sites. Please download the above files and contact us if you are interested.

Cheffins Fine Art

Paint Out Cambridge welcomes the principal sponsor support and partnership with Cheffins Fine Art at our inaugural event in the county of Cambridgeshire.

Cass Art logo

Several Paint Out events in 2019 will also see art material sponsorship and prizes donated by Cass Art who have been very generous in the past to Paint Out events and artists.

Leathes Prior logoThe Paint Out Garden Series taking place at 6 locations across Norfolk is grateful for repeat sponsor Leathes Prior Solicitors.


Paint Out 2018

First Prize winning artist Robert Nelmes painting blacksmiths at Paint Out RNS17 under the Leathes Prior sponsor's umbrella
First Prize-winning artist Robert Nelmes painting at Paint Out RNS17 under the Leathes Prior sponsor’s umbrella

Paint Out 2018 was especially grateful for renewed sponsorship support from Leathes Prior SolicitorsRead their announcement here.

Paint Out continues to appreciate the support of The Point with some of our printing needs.


Paint Out Norwich, RNS, and Wells 2017

Paint Out Wells 2017 was sponsored for a third year by Hopkins Homes. Paint Out Norwich 2017 saw repeat sponsorship by Strutt & Parker, and Archant, the extension of Leathes Prior Solicitors support, and materials prizes supplied by Cass Art and Norwich Art Supplies. Paint Out also appreciates its other partners, supporters and suppliers including: The Albatros, Anteros Arts, Arnolds Keys AuctioneersArts RoundUp, Dandis Clothing, Hostry Festival, Hussey KnightsNorwich Cathedral, RNAA’s Royal Norfolk ShowService Point UKThe PointWells Congregational Hall, & Zesty Design.

Sponsors of Paint Out 2017 - Hopkins Homes, Strutt & Parker, Leathes Prior, Cass Art, Archant
Sponsors of Paint Out 2017 – Hopkins Homes, Strutt & Parker, Leathes Prior, Cass Art, Archant, as well as partners & suppliers

Paint Out at the Royal Norfolk Show 2017

Royal Norfolk Show logoIn 2017, Paint Out was invited to bring its live art experience painting event to the Royal Norfolk Show, 28-29 June. We were extremely appreciative of our marquee and hospitality fizz sponsors Leathes Prior Solicitors and for our art auction and leaflet printing by Arnolds Keys Auctioneers and Estate Agents. We were also grateful to the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association (RNAA) for the invite and their support. Archant sponsored a “Best in Show” art prize and Norwich Art Supplies our “Spirit of Plein Air Award”. For keeping our artists lubricated with cordial and water we are thankful to the Queens Road, Brazen Gate, Sainsbury’s Superstore.

Paint Out Norwich and Wells 2016

Sponsors of Paint Out Wells 2016 - Hopkins Homes, Sowerbys, ArchantPaint Out Wells 2016 saw primary sponsorship from Hopkins Homes, Sowerbys, and Archant.


Sponsors of Paint Out Norwich 2016 - Strutt & Parker, La Ronde Wright, Sowerbys, Archant
Paint Out
Norwich 2016
had as primary sponsor Strutt & Parker, along with La Ronde Wright, Sowerbys, and Archant. Our arts event partners include the Hostry Festival and our hubs – Anteros Arts Foundation and North Cafe Bar.

Supporting & Volunteering Opportunities

Paint Out is thankful for the hard work of its volunteers. Anyone interested in volunteering for our current ‘paint outs’, assisting artists, helping manage the registration desks and paintings, and being part of our arts events can register online or join our volunteers facebook group. It looks great on a CV!

Volunteer at Paint Out

Paint Out History

Paint Out Norwich launched in 2014 and since then well over 100 different artists have taken part in our professional competitions and over 120 in our public paint outs. Our first satellite painting event was Wells-next-the Sea 2015 on the North Norfolk coast. That year also saw first-of-its-kind mass public ‘paint outs’ firstly on Wells Beach at sunrise and then, the following month, of some 100 artists, of all ages,  painting the expansive Norwich skyline, from historic Mousehold Heath. 2015 also saw our first Nocturne – nighttime painting event. 2016 saw artists taking to canoes and 2017 to an open-top double-decker bus, as well as painting live at the Royal Norfolk Show.

Mission statement

Paint Out logo 2015

Paint Out is a multifaceted live experience arts festival that aims to attract national and international talent by its annual events that focus on the challenges imposed by creating work ‘on the spot’ in the urban environment. Paint Out is keen to see a competition that tests artists’ skill and craft to the maximum, promoting the burgeoning UK arts scene, and providing an interactive educational experience. Our expanding events have included schools, public, and professional art competitions, artwork exhibitions and auctions, talks, “Artist’s Question Time”, and open air art workshops.


Paint Out  © 2014-2018 is a James Colman Project