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).
Paint Out Sudbury took place on 30 June 2018, on the Essex/Suffolk border, home to Thomas Gainsborough who inspired John Constable, with picturesque scenery including the Water Meadows and River Stour, an old railway line, the market town itself, St Peter’s Church and Gainsborough’s house. One day, two sessions, en plein air!
A baker’s dozen of plein air artists took to the historic wool town of Sudbury, birthplace of Gainsborough with its snaking River Stour, Suffolk countryside and some 247 Heritage Listed buildings in the town itself. It was a veritable treasure trove of idyllic painting locations on one of the hottest days of the year.
Participating artists included: Eleanor Alison, John Behm, Sarah Berbank Green, Mary Blue Brady, James Colman (non-competing), Tom Cringle, Robin Drury, Jack Godfrey, Julie Hodgson, Andrew Horrod, Robert Nelmes, Eloise O’Hare, Sue Willmer.
Join our mailing list to register interest in future Paint Out events and a return to Sudbury and other towns in Suffolk.
Paint Out Norfolk 16-23 July 2020 saw 400+ paintings created by 50+ plein air artists at a dozen Norwich and Norfolk locations around coast and countryside with a week long rolling exhibition at Whitlingham Country Park and last day Final View. View the winners and other selected paintings gallery.
Paint Out Gardens Series 2019
Paint Out Gardens in Norfolk ran May-October 2019 and saw 130 paintings created by 36 plein air artists across the seasons and 6 hidden or historic gardens. Prizes were awarded by Norfolk-based Art Historian, Charlotte Crawley – a former curator and past Director of the East Anglia Art Fund, as well as Tom Humphrey and Sophie Barratt of the Fairhurst Gallery, Norwich. View the winners and other selected paintings gallery.
Paint Out Holt 2019
Paint Out Holt 19-20 July 2019 saw 55 paintings created by 22 plein air artists across 3 sessions from Friday to Saturday morning ahead of opening the Holt Festival at Picturecraft Gallery in Holt. Prizes were awarded by Robert Upstone, former Senior Curator of 20th Century Art at Tate and Norfolk-based Art Historian, Charlotte Crawley – a former curator and past Director of the East Anglia Art Fund. View the winners and other selected paintings gallery.
Paint Out Norfolk 2019
Paint Out Norfolk 1-5 July 2019 saw 100 paintings created by 27 plein air artists at 5 Norwich and Norfolk locations from coast to county ending at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Art for a last day paint out and Private View. View the winners and other selected paintings gallery.
Karen Adams, Paul Alcock, John Behm, Mary Blue Brady, Shaun Carey, James Colman (guest artist), Tom Cringle, Sheila Cunningham, Jan Dingle, Jan Gaska, Jack Godfrey, Audrey Hay, Julie Hodgson, Mary Kallagher, Susanna MacInnes, Aggie Matyjaszek, Eloise O’Hare, Georgina Potter, Sam Robbins, Lesley Williams
Paint Out Great Yarmouth 2018
Paint Out Great Yarmouth took place in the historic Norfolk coastal town on 1 September 2018. Yarmouth has featured in historic paintings and its history in art was portrayed during ‘Drawn to the Coast: Turner, Constable, Cotman‘ which explored the identity of Great Yarmouth and its surrounding landscape through the artwork it has inspired. J.M.W Turner and John Constable, Norwich School of painters such as Joseph Stannard, John Sell Cotman and John Crome were all drawn to paint here.
Paint Out Sudbury took place in the historic wool and silk town on 30 June 2018, on the Essex/Suffolk border, home to Thomas Gainsborough who inspired John Constable, with picturesque scenery including the Water Meadows, Valley Trail and River Stour, the old railway line, market town itself, St Peter’s Church, and Gainsborough’s house and garden, among the 247 Heritage Listed buildings. One day, two sessions, en plein air! View the gallery of artworks online.
Paint Out 2017 saw an en plein air invitational event at the Royal Norfolk Show. Fifteen hardy artists painted all the colour and character of the UK’s largest two-day agricultural event amidst torrential downpours and mud to rival Glastonbury! From fairground to farriers, and pigs to poultry, there was plenty to paint. Our artists were positioned around the Norfolk Showground site, returning their wet artworks every few hours to our tent for a live art auction on the first day, and continually refreshed rolling exhibition over both days. View the gallery of artworks online.
Paint Out™ is an art event aiming to refresh and redefine 21st century en plein air art practice. Founded in 2014, we are the UK’s premier and only fully juried en plein air art competition, celebrating the talents of national and international artists before a wide and growing audience in the heart of medieval and iconic Norwich, as well as around beautiful Norfolk‘s towns, countryside, broads and coast. We’ve also popped up in Suffolk and in 2019 branched out to Cambridge. Many of our events are about extreme painting challenges, in any weather, up against the clock and the gaze of the art-loving public. Come and ExperienceArt, Live!
Paint Out 2021
2021’s outdoor painting programme will build upon 2020’s successful and Covid-safe 8-day tour of Norfolk and Norwich with an open air exhibition which saw 40+ artwork sales. In 2021, we are expanding and enlarging the space for more artists and more facilities on-site. With interest from dozens of artists from UK, USA, France and Russia, and half-price and other early bird deals available, do sign up early to join the UK’s most innovative plein air art event. Check out last year’s Covid-19 updates to see how we kept up to date with safety rules.
It’s an opportunity to brush up alongside new and familiar faces of the plein air art community. Challenge your creativity. Develop your skills. Come and capture the height of summer in city, coast, and countryside locations including Norwich, Norfolk seaside, inland Broads, seaport and market towns, historic houses and gardens. There will be guest artists, painting demos, and art world judges, and depending upon Covid, as much socialising as we can. Week, weekend and multi-day choices available. Priced from £15-£30/day – enter here.
2020’s outdoor painting programme included an 8-day tour of Norfolk with over 50 of the 60+ accepted artists still able to attend, despite Covid. It meant a more measured event with socially distancing artists and a masked-up exhibition. Check out the painting locations Google map here. View the gallery of some of the finished artworks. Well over 400 paintings were created and the three judges: Sarah Flynn (Sworders), Amanda Geitner (EAAF) and artist Bruer Tidman, had a tough choice to narrow them down to 3 main prizes and a personal commendation each. James and Katy also awarded two artists with the Paint Out Spirit of Plein Air prizes for their body of work produced during the event, consistency and quality. The prizes, as in 2019, went to a trio of female artists: First Prize – Susan Isaac, Second Prize – Mary Blue Brady, Third Prize – Amanda Barrett, and commendations to Alfie Carpenter, Jack Godfrey, Naomi Clements-Wright, Spirit of Plein Air awards to Paul Alcock, Sam Robbins.
Following 2018’s midwinter free event we returned to Norwich Market, Jarrolds, Haymarket and the surrounding area in mid-December 2019 to paint the seasonal scenes. Some 20 artists participated, painting early for the light as well as late for the Christmas lights.
2019’s outdoor painting programme brought us to Cambridge with Cheffins Fine Art for the first time (13-15 May), The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts (1-7 July), a collaboration with the Holt Festival (19 July), and with the Norwich Hostry Festival (14-16 Oct). Our premier Norfolk plein air event offered variety of visual stimuli from beach and pine at Wells next the Sea, inland Broads at How Hill, park, house and Henry Moore sculptures at Houghton Hall, modern and more sculptures at UEA & the Sainsbury Centre culminating in judging, awards, a private view and an exhibition – now online.
Plein Air – Art works carried out in the open air – chiefly painting.
The Paint Out competitions and invitationals accept any 2-dimensional media or mixed-media applied to a canvas/board/paper embracing drawing, pastels, oils, watercolour, gouache, acrylic, pen and ink, screen-printing, and even digital in certain categories. Innovation and originality are encouraged alongside traditional art forms. We are increasingly moving towards displaying mostly unframed ‘art in the raw’, showing off plein air art in a fresh way, hot – or rather wet off the easel.
We seek to capture the urban city and country environments in contemporary ways for a new and modern audience as well as established art collectors. We bring art and artists to the people, rather than vice versa, with our artists on the streets and pop-up galleries on the greens. If you want to commission or collaborate with us to bring an event to your location, please get in touch.
We have a number of events in East Anglia before the annual premier event Paint Out Norwich to whet your appetite including several one-day PaintOuts in Norfolk historic and hidden gardens from May-early October including opportunities to paint historical changing rural and urban landscapes in Cambridge, Holt and Norfolk as we seek to use Paint Out events to document our changing environment.
2017 saw Paint Out go to the Royal Norfolk Show, and in 2018 we had events in Sudbury,Suffolk and Great Yarmouth, Norfolk. We aim to grow Paint Out year-on-year in terms of the variety, challenge, location, and quality of events.
Paint Out Norwich 2018
Paint Out Norwich 2018 competition, categories, prizes, event dates, and locations, for the plein air painting days during the Hostry Festival 2018 ran 13-17October with 2-5 days of day and night (optional) painting, artist workshops, a public ‘paintout‘ (21 Oct), and a private view, awards and art sale. This was followed by an art exhibition of over 150 paintings until 28 October at the Norwich Cathedral Hostry each day. Over 50 applications were juried by our selector David Curtis ROI RSMA, and some 35 artists participated this year.
A new one-day event – Paint Out Great Yarmouth on 1 September, from Seaside to Quayside, in collaboration with Norfolk Museums Service and particularly the Time and Tide Museum’s event ‘Drawn to the Coast: Turner, Constable, Cotman‘ which explores the identity of Great Yarmouth and its surrounding landscape through the artwork it has inspired.
The Paint Out Wells 2018 competition on the North Norfolk coast offers either a weekend-only pop-up event (2015-2017) or a one-day intensive paint day on the coast (2018) making it more accessible for those with jobs and other commitments. The event runs early September and in 2018 it was 8 September.
One-day warm-up event in Gainsborough’s hometown with options to paint the town, Gainsborough garden, old railway line walk, the Watermeadows, and more. Great views and amazing local countryside on the Suffolk/Essex border. [Gallery here…]
Norwich & Wells, Norfolk Art Class/Workshops/Talks
Paint Out provides an excellent opportunity for aspiring and seasoned artists to acquire and refresh core skills. Themes include painting and drawing, colour theory, composition, perspective, and best en plein air practice in oils, watercolour and other media, both as practical workshops and as public paint outs. Our education programme is taught by experienced professionals and covers everything you need to take your art to the next level, with a particular emphasis on Plein Air essentials. In addition, we have entrepreneurial advice about growing your art business alongside your art practice covering blogging, social media, photography, framing, pitching to galleries, and selling. Finally, we put things in context with cultural and historical talks and tours.
Paint Out 2017 featured a select group of invited artists painting the UK’s largest two-day agricultural fair – the Royal Norfolk Show. With up to 100,000 visitors it is the premier event of its kind. Our artists and team were to be found around the Show and at the Leathes Prior sponsored Paint Out tent. There was an auction of the still-wet fresh art on the Wednesday 28th by Arnolds Keys fine art auctioneers and a rolling gallery exhibition and sale of paintings from shortly after 8am 28 June to 6pm 29 June. Archant sponsored and presented £500 of prizes for First and Second places “Best in Show” paintings to Robert Nelmes and Tom Cringle. Norwich Art Supplies provided the art materials voucher prizes, presented to Haidee-Jo Summers and Mo Teeuw, for the jointly-shared Spirit of Plein Air award. View the Gallery of art painted and those still for sale.