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.