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
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)
Hannah Bruce studied Fine Art at Aberystwyth University before Art Teacher training at Cambridge University and going on to teach Art for 15 years, 9 of those as head of department in Woking and Guildford. She has now left teaching and has been back painting full time since 2015 and since then also been chair of Woking Art Society.
Hannah paints primarily in oils, sometimes ink and occasionally acrylic. She has been actively pushing her own plein air work as well as helping to set up Surrey Hills Plein Air painters.
“I am passionate about painting and creating artworks that are vibrantly colourful, conveying joyous and calming moods that make you smile every time you look at them.”
In 2018, she won the Spirit of Norwich Prize sponsored by Norwich Art Supplies for her collection of artworks portraying Norwich day and night during Paint Out Norwich 2018. Prior to that, she has won prizes at A Brush With The Broads, Art in the Open and Windsor Plein Air Painting.
Paint Out History
Paint Out Norwich – Spirit of Norwich Prize (2018)
Guildford Art Society – President’s Prize (2017)
Surrey Artist of the Year – Nominated (2016)
Artist and Illustrators – Artists of the Year, Top 50 Nominee (2016)
Art in the Open, Ireland – Public Paint Out Third Prize (2016)
A Brush with the Broads – Public Paint Out public vote winner (2015)
Windsor Plein Air Painting – Third Prize (2016)
Michael Richardson was educated at Ipswich College of Art and later in Paris. His work has been exhibited in the Royal Society of Marine Artists (RSMA), the Royal Society of British Artists (RBA), the Royal Institute of Oil Painters (ROI), the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours’ shows at the Mall Galleries and at the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition.
Michael is a member of the Wapping Group of Artists (probably the oldest outdoor painting society in the UK), The Chelsea Art Society, and council member of the United Society of Artists. He is also a founder member of the Brass Monkeys Art Society, a hardcore group of winter outdoor painters.
He won the inaugural Paint Out Norwich Nocturne Prize in 2015 and was runner-up in 2016. He regularly delivers oil painting and nocturne workshops during Paint Out events. At Wells-next-the-Sea in 2017, Michael was a guest artist, demonstrator, and prize judge for Paint Out Wells.
Paint Out Awards
Paint Out Norwich – Nocturne Second Prize (2016)
Paint Out Norwich – Nocturne First Prize (2015)
Richard Bond’s work has been exhibited in national group shows and painting competitions, including the Singer & Friedlander/Sunday Times Watercolour Competition, the Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize Competition and the Royal Watercolour Society Open Competition. An article about his work and working methods in watercolour appeared in International Artist magazine (vol. 86).
In the summer of 2013, Richard set up the Norwich Outdoor Painting Group, an informal group of local artists that meets once a week throughout the year to paint en plein air in Norwich city centre.
Richard won the First Prize at Paint Out Norwich 2015. In 2016, he followed that with a First place win in the Watercolour category. The judge, Hugh Pilkington, awarded him a judge’s commendation in 2017 for Richard’s “Indian Summer”, on Mousehold Heath.
Paint Out Awards
Paint Out Norwich – First Prize (2015, 2016), Commended (2017), selected and participated (2014, 2018)
Paint Out Wells – selected and participated (2015)
Paint Out Norfolk – selected and participated (2020, 2021)
Robert Nelmes paints in oils and watercolour, both with their own unique set of challenges, particularly enplein air with environmental pressures and “greater sense of urgency, with a level of intensity and concentration unique to the discipline.” He says that creating a plein air painting and leaving it in its raw state is a very “honest representation of you as an artist.”
Robert was born in Leeds and moved to the Isle of Skye when he was 16, completing his education in drawing and painting at Edinburgh College of Art in 1987. Whilst illustrating for the last 25 years he has maintained his passion for painting and drawing. Illustration clients have included: BP, Diageo, Jura Whisky, Standard Life, RBS, National Trust for Scotland and Historic Scotland.
“The shifting light and changing weather will always present a greater test to the artist than the safety of the studio can. For me this increases the sense of urgency, promoting a more instinctive reaction and vibrant result.” – Robert Nelmes
He has taken part in Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year 2015 and has been teaching landscape painting in Italy as well as getting out into the local Norfolk countryside from his new base in Roydon, Diss – close to the Norfolk/Suffolk border.
“I enjoy capturing the essence of what makes each landscape unique, be it the light, a majestic mountain range or the vastness of the ocean and now the big skies and patchwork landscape of Norfolk draw me in.”
Robert Nelmes scooped the Paint OutFirst Prize at Paint Out’s inaugural Freestyle competition (2016) and again for his painting ‘Blacksmiths‘ at the Royal Norfolk Show (2017), presented by Keys Fine Art Auctioneers and the Chairman of Archant Newspapers.
“I am over the moon and amazed because the standard was so high. I decided to paint the blacksmiths because the subject suits the way I paint. It’s all about light and dark, energy and movement and contrast, and it’s a challenge too.” – Robert Nelmes, EDP
He also sold at the Royal Norfolk ShowPaint Out art auction run by Keys Auctioneers, exceeding the list price. One to watch, and invest in!
Paint Out Awards
Paint Out Great Yarmouth – First Prize & People’s Choice (2018)
Paint Out Sudbury – Participated (2018)
Paint Out Norwich – Freestyle First Prize (2016), Nocturne First Prize (2017)
Paint Out Wells-next-the-Sea – Judge’s Commendation (2017)
Paint Out Royal Norfolk Show – First Prize (2017)
Our outdoor painting programme builds upon 8 years of plein air art events and 2 years successful and Covid-safe 8-day tours of Norfolk and Norwich with an open-air exhibition that saw dozens of artwork sales. In 2022, we are expanding again to welcome over 80-90 artists and add more facilities on-site (art materials, food and beverages etc). With interest from over 100 artists from UK, USA, France and Russia, do sign up early to join the UK’s most innovative plein air art event – the 15-23 July 2022 event is now open for entries with early bird pricing. Come and capture the height of summer in city, coast and countryside locations including Norwich, Norfolk seaside, inland Broads, market towns, and historic houses, gardens and parks, allotments and cemeteries!
We continued the new 1-8 days+ summer format with 70 artists and double the exhibition capacity. Artists painted from Hunstanton to Winterton, Gooderstone Water Gardens to Gunton Park, and across Norwich and the Norfolk Broads.
Judges included artists Maggi Hambling and Rob Adams, and curator/art historian Giorgia Bottinelli.
Moving our premier event to the summer allows us to spend up to 8 days in Norwich and Norfolk, around city, coast and countryside, including seaside and market towns as well as the iconic historic medieval city of Norwich itself.
Following 2018’s midwinter free event we are returning to Norwich Market, Jarrolds and the surrounding area to paint the seasonal scenes. We’ll be there from 1-5pm and then have a drink together. Paint early for the light, paint late for the lights, or paint both! There is no charge for this free event but registration via our website or Facebook would help us with numbers and racking space.
Paint Out Norfolk Gardens, May-Oct 2019
Throughout 2019 we explored Norfolk’s great gardens with a succession of one-day events at:
The Holt Festival (21-27 July), now in its eleventh year, 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. Robert Upstone a Tate curator judged the event at Paint Out Holt as well as Charlotte Crawley (Art Historian, former EAAF).
Home to 500-year-old Gresham’s School (alumni include WH Auden, Olivia Colman, Benjamin Britten, James Dyson, and the artist Ben Nicholson), this two-session Paint Out was backed up by a ten-day 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 in conjunction with The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts1-7 July (painting days 1st-5th, PV 5th, Exhibition 6th-7th) based around the Sainsbury Centre/UEA campus site and painting further afield including Wells-next-the-Sea, the Broads, and Houghton Hall park.
Paint Out Norwich ran a winter nocturne Christmas lights plein air and social, Wednesday 19 December 2018 4-7pm.The open-air painting and ‘pinting’ event, started out at the Bell Hotel pub and included a bottle of bubbly for the best painting of the evening. Some of the locations painted included the fifteenth-century Bell Hotel itself, Jarrolds, and the Market/City Hall. All three were decorated and illuminated with tasteful seasonal lighting.
North Norfolk coast plein air painting competition. Since 2015 this event has seen workshops, demos, beach public paint outs at sunrise, Buttlands exhibition, day trips to neighbouring towns such as Blakeney, Burnham Market, Brancaster Staithe etc – more information | event gallery
Paint Out Great Yarmouth, 1 Sep 2018
A new one-day event is taking place – 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 – more information.
Paint Out Sudbury, Suffolk, 30 Jun 2018
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 – more information | event gallery
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!
Our outdoor painting programme builds upon 8 years of plein air art events and 2 years successful and Covid-safe 8-day tours of Norfolk and Norwich with an open-air exhibition that saw dozens of artwork sales. In 2021, we expanded with double the space for over 70 artists and more facilities on-site and will expand again in 2022. With interest from over 100 artists from UK, USA, France and Russia, do sign up early to join the UK’s most innovative plein air art event – the 15-23 July 2022 event is now open for entries with early bird pricing (save up to £120).
We also hope to run a weekend warm-up event in early May 2022.
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, talks, socials, and art world judges. Last year’s included Maggi Hambling, Rob Adams, and Giorgia Bottinelli.
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.