With over a month into lockdown and the world in free-fall, thanks to Covid-19, the thought of Paint Out Norfolk taking place at the end of July, or indeed any cultural event, may at the moment seem remote, laughable or even potentially irresponsible.
Or maybe not?
This is to inform all those that have signed up to this year’s event, or those still considering the possibility of taking part, that no hard decisions about whether to go ahead or not will be made until mid-June at the earliest. Our fingers and paintbrushes remain crossed!
Our week-long event had included partnering with The Kings Lynn Festival, which has sadly had to close its doors this year. Our Exhibition host for 2020, the ubiquitous and much loved Norwich Department store, Jarrolds, has had to curtail the celebration of their incredible 250 years in business and close for the time being.
Out of these upsets, though, new opportunities have arisen. We are currently looking into partnering with a North Norfolk Art Prize organisation, an East Anglian-based auctioneer and have adjusted our ambitions for this year’s event, in the hope that it can still go ahead in some form, to cope with social distancing measures and other vital health and safety considerations which we will outline to those taking part.
Paint Out is a flexible and adaptable organization, capable of finding new and creative ways to achieve its primary aim – to provide a platform for plein air painters to excel under the pressures of newly set challenges; to celebrate and disseminate the results of those challenges by giving artists the accolade from top art world luminaries, as well as trying to sell work to as wide an audience as is possible in the short exhibition window.
It aims to act as a forum for the exchange of new ideas within outdoor art practice and to embrace those new developments, whether it be working in new media or taking on new subjects previously considered off-limits; to collaborate with other like-minded organisations, particularly through these difficult time; and most importantly to act as a conduit for artists to form life-enhancing, lifelong, creative friendships.
Particularly during Covid-19 we are interested in the challenges faced by artists to keep painting outside or from within. Has it sent you back to the studio or do you have a garden to paint in or from? Has it changed your subject matter? What are the lockdown pros and cons, what do you miss most about a plein air paint out? Please fill in our plein air painting ‘lockdown’ survey – it’s peppered with inspiring art quotes too and quite fun.
We really hope that you will keep tuned in to the website, social media and our mailings and prepare for some exciting new initiatives to ride us out of lockdown and with luck out into the sunshine of Paint Out Norfolk 2020.
Do keep in touch via our Facebook community page and share your plein air#ArtistSupportPledge paintings there and tag @PaintOut on Instagram similarly if you want extra help signposting your plein air works and any other artist campaigns that still centre the world of plein air art practice. In the meantime keep well and keep safe.
Paint Out 2020’s outdoor painting programme will be our biggest yet. An 8-day tour of Norfolk and Norwich (16-23 July). Some 40 artists have been accepted already from the UK and USA with more joining us from Russia and elsewhere. We are expecting around 50-70 plein air artists. Brush up alongside new and familiar faces of the outdoor art practice community. Challenge your creativity. Develop your skills. Win prizes. Sell your artwork.
For our 7th year leading the field in UK plein air innovation and inspiration and for the second year in East Anglia, we are making this our flagship event for 2020. As we enter the next decade, our founding event Paint Out Norwich (2014) will become a part of our broader Norfolk event and we are moving it up to high summer from its founding origins in autumnal October where it began as part of the Hostry Festival.
Paint Out is the first and consistently long-running event of its kind in the UK and with over 15 events in 3 counties under our belt, prides itself in its quest to innovate and set new challenges, year on year.
Come and capture the height of summer in city, coast and countryside locations including Norwich, Norfolk seaside, seaport and market towns, and historic houses. Days and destinations are still being finalised but are set to include: King’s Lynn Festival, Cromer, Sheringham, North Walsham, and a couple of days and nights in Norwich.
There will be guest artists, painting demos, prestigious art talks, and daily prizes. Long summer days and evenings spent painting and socialising in stunning coastal, rural, market town and city environments.
Individual, weekend and multi-day choices available and transport options to county destinations. Priced from £15-£30/day – the early bird discount at £120 is sold out but the not-so-early bird discount of all 8 days at £135 till 29 February is open, rising to £150 in March.
Artists looking to hone their outdoor painting skills will be walking on the shoulders of plein air giants. Norfolk and Norwich can justifiably be called the crucible of plein air painting. The Castle Museum in Norwich has the largest collection of Cotmans and Cromes to name a couple of historic luminaries and has very recently acquired a magnificent JMW Turner (Walton Bridges, 1806) – his first open-air work, an analysis of which we hope will form part of our evening lecture programme. Looking to their masterly neighbours across the North Sea (Dutch Golden Age), the vast skies, watery dykes and unique cool filtered light are replicated in Norfolk and have inspired artists down the ages.
2020 will see us transport artists around the county to Georgian set-piece market towns, Victorian and art deco crumbling seaside splendour, replete with piers, funfairs, harbours and crab boats. The magnificent medieval architecture of Kings Lynn and Norwich will be supplemented with a return to our 2019 garden theme by taking in a Humphrey Repton red book garden or similar historic country house. A quick draw in front of one of the UK’s oldest and largest markets will provide more than a surge of adrenalin, draw crowds and create bonds with fellow artists.
Paint Out is your chance to make friends, exchange techniques and laugh too, it will be creative inspiration, life-changing and enhancing.
Paint Out‘s 2019 plein air exploration of Norfolk’s great gardens and houses continues with Houghton Hall walled garden (14 Sep, 11-5pm) but you could also double-up and do Houghton and Elsing Hall across a weekend 14-15 Sep in Norfolk.
A past winner of Christie’s Historic Houses Association ‘Garden of the Year Award’, the 5-acre walled garden has become one of Houghton’s most popular attractions and is itself surrounded by acres of deer-filled woodland and the sculptures of Henry Moore.
Whether the colour of the plantings, or the architecture of horticultural form, or the statues and fine glasshouse, there are views aplenty to paint.
These are available as one-day paintouts for £30 or £100 for the remaining 4 events or all 6 if you’ve already pre-paid for the year.
The space within Houghton Hall’s Walled Garden is divided into several contrasting ‘ornamental gardens’. These include a spectacular double-sided herbaceous border, an Italian garden, a formal rose parterre, fruit and vegetable gardens, a glasshouse, a rustic temple, antique statues, fountains and contemporary sculptures including Jeppe Hein’s “Waterflame”, Stephen Cox’s “Flask II”, and Richard Long’s “Houghton Cross” currently positioned on the croquet lawn.
Historic England entry (somewhat out of date!): KITCHEN GARDEN The 5 acre (c 2ha) walled garden lies c 350m south-west of the Hall behind 3m high red-brick walls (listed grade II).
The interior has been developed over the past five years (1992-7) by the present owner as an ornamental flower, fruit, and vegetable garden and is divided into four compartments by mature yew and beech hedges connected to a late C20 central circle of yew with tree peony beds. Paths of grass and gravel radiate from this, with the long north/south axis defined by double herbaceous borders.
The north-east quarter contains a newly planted (1990s) rose garden with herbaceous areas, yew hedging, a central pool, and four statues, while the north-west quarter is currently (1999) being planned.
The south-east quarter is divided by a newly planted (1990s) pleached hornbeam walk and the north-east quarter planted with old orchard trees in part, new fruit areas in part and an ornamental potager for vegetables.
The walled garden is contemporary with the building of the new hall and stables in the early C18 whilst the internal layout and glasshouses are all of late C20 origin.
The Holt Festival (21-27 July), now in its eleventh year, has invited Paint Out to open this year’s Festival with a two-day Paint Out and Private View (19-20 July) around the charming North Norfolk town. A day-and-a-half of outdoor painting by 25 artists should see 50+ artworks created en plein air ready for a Private View at Picturecraft Gallery on Saturday 20 July with awards announced shortly after 1pm. Saturday also sees an Art Car Boot fair featuring artists such as Colin Self running alongside from 11-5pm
The judges are Robert Upstone, former Senior Curator of 20th Century Art at Tate and Charlotte Crawley who is a Norfolk-based Art Historian. After studying Art History at Cambridge University and The Courtauld Institute in London, she worked for five years at Windsor Castle looking after the Royal Collection of Drawings and Prints. Charlotte recently retired as the Director of the East Anglia Art Fund and serves on the Norfolk Committee of the Art Fund.
“This combination of judges has the unique qualification of having, early in their careers, curated the foremost collections of Canaletto drawings and Turner sketches probably the most famous early Plein Air painters on the planet!” – James Glennie, Holt Festival
Holt is home to 500-year-old Gresham’s School (alumni include WH Auden, Olivia Colman, Benjamin Britten, James Dyson, and the artist Ben Nicholson) and features fine 18th-century Georgian buildings and beautiful surrounding countryside.
The two-day Paint Out will be backed up by a week-long exhibition in Picturecraft of Holt, a gallery and Art material supplier with the winners exhibiting alongside the now well established Holt Art Prize.
Paint Out Norfolk took place 1-7 July. 27 plein air artists toured Norfolk’s rivers, beaches and Broads, the palatial Palladian Houghton Hall with Henry Moores, as well as Bishop’s Bridge in Norwich itself and the Sainsbury Centre at UEA campus and sculpture park. Five painting days in the summer sun! Read about the Prize-winning artworks here.
Paint Out Norfolk1-7 July 2019 visits Bishop’s Bridge & the Red Lion in Norwich, Wells-next-the-Sea, the Norfolk Broads at How Hill, Houghton Hall, and the Sainsbury Centre in Norwich for art talks, inspiration from Monet and Hockney, socials, judging by George Rowlett & Paul Greenhalgh, awards and private view, public paint out (6 July) and art exhibition (6-7th). Transport to all painting sites available from Norwich.
Paint Out continues its 2019 programme that has included the inaugural Paint Out Cambridge and an ongoing series of five garden paint-outs with a multi-day premier juried painting event that takes in beach and Broads, countryside and campus, and historical buildings from the 1640s through to 1960s brutalism and 1970s modernism. The loan of a Monet and two Hockney paintings are set to inspire, as well as an art talk by Sainsbury Centre director Professor Paul Greenhalgh. A public paint out on the Saturday during the exhibition weekend (6-7 July) will make this open to artists of all abilities alongside the juried entry event 1-5 July being judged by among others, the eminent plein air artist George Rowlett.
Paint Out is thrilled to have been given the opportunity to host Paint Out Norfolk at the Sainsbury Centre – the preeminent Visual Arts Centre in the region housing an incredible collection of art spanning 5000 years of human creativity. Based at the campus of the University of East Anglia, Norman Foster’s vast 1978 hangar – the size of several football pitches, the Sainsbury Centre provides the backdrop to this year’s flagship Paint Out. It will also be the source of inspiration via an art talk and a special opportunity to view an amazing Monet painting ‘Allée de sapins à Varengeville‘ depicting the Normandy coast and two David Hockney artworks upon which artists can reflect as they head out to paint three classic locations around the county.
The mission of this Paint Out will be to raise the critical agenda of en plein air art practice, whatever form that may take, and continue to bring the genre to a wide and increasingly knowing audience. We’ve been working closely with the Director of Exhibitions, Paul Greenhalgh, who will also be a judge at the event, on how best this can be achieved.
First and most importantly, we feel that it’s vital to not only contextualise the relevance of what’s gone before and recognise that this is often the vital starting point for many outdoor artists but also to allow for contemporary interpretation to flood the artist’s consciousness too. In fact, we have espoused experimentation from the outset of Paint Out, since 2014, and actively encourage artists to work outside their comfort zones.
To that end, the Sainsbury Centre has secured the loans of two notorious exponents of plein air: Claude Monet and David Hockney. The 1882 Varengeville coastal scene by Monet has all the hallmark of the Master’s swirling brushmark notation and clear colour.
The two Hockneys, by contrast, are monumental iPad drawings of Yosemite, fizzing with intense Californian reds and greens and varied mark making. Both may seem out of place in the relatively muted English light but this will be the height of the summer and with luck, the opportunity for artists to gorge on fabulous coastal and Broadland sweeps, as well as be let loose within the grounds of one of England’s finest early eighteenth century houses.
In addition to Paul Greenhalgh acting as a competition judge, we are pleased to announce that the well-established plein air artist George Rowlett will be with us acting as a further arbiter of the artworks created. Born on the West Coast of Scotland in 1941, George attended the Camberwell School of Art and the Royal Academy Schools. He has work in public and private collections worldwide and is renowned for balancing both large bold impasto paintings and intimate up-close subjects. A description of Rowlett from a 2009 exhibition catalogue may give you an insight into the character who will be viewing your artistic impressions of Norfolk.
“When George Rowlett paints in the open air he is like a man wrestling with his subject. But what looks like a struggle is really an intimate dance. He stands back from the easel, a blade loaded with oil paint in one hand, and begins to shuffle as a boxer might, or an inexpert devotee of tai chi. His eyes and hands seem to be feeling the landscape, his shoulders move with its contours, both arms embrace its forms. Then, with a sudden stab and twist, another glistening slice of paint has been added to the thickening layers of rich impasto on the board before him.” – Robert Hewison
For those able to arrive Monday afternoon 1 July we will have a short welcome and induction in the Paint Out tent at the Sainsbury Centre site followed by an informal paint out at a pub on the river in the city of Norwich, the Red Lion by historic Bishop’s Bridge.
On Tuesday 2 July, we return to our favourite haunt on the Norfolk coast, Wells-next-the-sea which we’ve painted since 2015. Inspired by Monet’s depiction of the 1880s Normandy coast through the trees we’ll be visiting the timeless beach, dunes and pines there.
Wednesday’s trip will be to the beautiful setting of How Hill, the epicentre of The Norfolk Broads with its wide vistas across river and reed fen, plenty of opportunity to capture boats weaving their way up the river, original reed cutting practice, as well as the beautiful setting of How Hill’s Edwardian Garden with its terracing and eccentric layout. We will return for an art talk at the Sainsbury Centre and social.
On the third day, we have secured access to Houghton Hall and its surrounding deer park. This is an opportunity to capture one of the great houses of England and the original seat of the first Prime minister Horace Walpole.
Culminating on Friday morning, a final paint out around the campus and grounds of UEA and the Sainsbury Centre taking in 1640s Earlham Hall, 1960s Denys Lasdun’s Ziggurats, sculptures and lake, before a Private View and awards on Friday night followed by a weekend art exhibition with public paint out on the Saturday.
Transport to all locations available at a subsidised rate of £5/day.
Elsing Hall Gardens on 16 Jun & 15 Sep 2019 is the second of six days painting in several of Norfolk’s great gardens, and this grade I listed rural home has been described as “one of the hidden treasures of East Anglia”. The one-day paint out will take place among the 20-acre estate of the fifteenth-century house and medieval moat near Dereham. In the nineteenth-century, its appearance was recorded in watercolour paintings by Rev James Bulwer now held in the Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery.
Of particular interest in June are the roses in full bloom including:
“a multitude of old English roses that adorn the walls of the house, the walled garden and many borders giving off an almost overpowering scent when in full bloom. Roses in the collection include the famous R. Mme. Alfred Carrier, Vita Sackville West’s favourite R. Souvenir du Dr. Jamain, R. Fantin Latour, R. Cardinal de Richelieu, R. Rambling Rector, R. Ragosa Rosa de l’Hay as well as literally hundreds more.” – Elsing Hall Gardens
The romantic gardens were established over 30 years ago under the direction of Shirley Cargill and have constantly developed ever since in terms of both restoration and innovation. There is a historic hydraulic ram pump that was installed almost 200 years ago and is still housed in its original underground brick pump house accessed by a spiral stairway.
Many other interesting features include the probably unique gingko avenue, the rapidly maturing pinetum, the formal Osprey Garden, the flowing planting around the moat, and densely planted with Lonicera Nitida viewing mound with a spiral path taking one slowly to the summit.
Stody Lodge Gardens on 26 May 2019 is the first of five days painting in several of Norfolk’s great gardens. The one-day paint out will take in the winding woodland walks, rhododendron blooms, water garden azaleas, and yew hedges of the early twentieth century Lodge.
“The borders of the Azalea walk, flanked by tall yew hedges, neatly frame Stody Lodge as you approach from the visitor entrance to the gardens. Its colour and overwhelming scent are a veritable assault on the senses.” – Stody Lodge
Stody Lodge and its gardens were designed by London architect Walter Sarel in 1932 for the 1st Viscount Rothermere, the British newspaper proprietor. They are renowned for their stunning spring floral displays with 200 different varieties of rhododendrons and 2,000 azaleas spread across a four-acre water garden.
“One of the most photographed parts of the garden, the Long Walk extends 200 metres from the Main Lawn to the ha-ha which overlooks the park. The urn at this far end of the Long Walk is a copy of the Coalbrookdale Milton Vase depicting scenes of Adam and Eve being expelled from the Garden of Eden.” – Stody Lodge
Paintings created at Paint Out Great Yarmouth, Norfolk 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.