Paint Out Norwich Plein Air Winter Nocturne Art Event

Artist Richard Bond painting from the Market at Paint Out Norwich Winter Nocturne
Artist Stephen Johnston, Paint Out Norwich Winter Nocturne, Winner, Oil, 16x20in
Stephen Johnston, Paint Out Norwich Winter Nocturne, Winner. Oil, 16x20in, FOR SALE, £225

Just before Christmas, Paint Out Norwich ran a Plein Air winter nocturne event to close out the year. Fifteen plein air artists braved the cold and Stephen Johnston came first winning a bottle of seasonal cheer in the form a nice Champagne for his 16 x 20-inch oil painting of Jarrolds at night. Quite a large canvas and completed in around 2 hours. Impressive.

Its bold brush strokes and dark bluish hue created a strong impression as Christmas shoppers went in and out of his chosen subject. Definitely some Monet and van Gogh by night influences.

Artist Emily Faludy, Paint Out Norwich Winter Nocturne, 'Starry night', Oil, 10x12in, £350
Emily Faludy, Paint Out Winter Nocturne, ‘Starry night, Norwich’, Oil, 10x12in, FOR SALE, £350

One artist, Emily Faludy – a veteran of the last two Paint Out Norwich plein air art competitions and winner of one in the oil category, came up all the way from Hampshire for the evening painting event.

She appropriately titled her Red Lion St (from Orford Hill) painting ‘Starry Night, Norwich’ – reminiscent of both the Don McLean song and of the title of Vincent van Gogh’s 1889 painting, ‘The Starry Night’, which it references.

First Nocturne

It was an evening of firsts as it was Stephen Johnston’s first nocturne, along with other artists like Eleanor Alison and Patricia Harper who were painting nearby and also attempting their first nocturnes. Paint Out had also joined forces with the Norwich Outdoor Painting Group, about half of whom had done Paint Out events before. Among them was a previous Paint Out winner, Richard Bond who was also painting his first nocturne in oils, previously he had tried watercolour at night. He chose to paint from under a streetlamp, minus the minor lamp headgear that some artists sported but which can get in the way of natural colour and lighting. Whatever the artists’ choices of lighting assistance or none, nocturnes are an interesting challenge and sometimes a surprise seeing how they turn out the next day in daylight.

Stephen had an unforeseen problem painting Jarrolds from outside of the Halifax because their neon-lit sign kept rotating in different colours casting inconsistent lighting across his canvas and palette to add to the difficulties of painting at night. Whilst storefront lighting was a distraction for Stephen, for another artist, Eloise O’Hare, the Jarrolds’ window display with a busker playing outside was the attraction. Her painting won an honourable mention for showing a different side to the city at night and in a different painting medium.

Plein Air Nocturne Locations

Artist Sarah Allbrook painting the Market at Paint Out Norwich Winter Nocturne
Artist Sarah Allbrook painting the Market at the Paint Out Norwich Winter Nocturne

The city of Norwich looks beautiful at night but even more so during the season of Christmas lighting which is mostly tasteful not tacky – although, like art, which is which is always a personal view. Locations painted at included Jarrolds, the top of the Market looking across to the Castle or St Peter Mancroft, Timberhill, the Forum and Christmas Market, and St Andrew’s Halls.

Nocturnes were first introduced to our plein air painting competition events in 2015 and have been a fond feature of many artists since, pushing their practice under different and difficult conditions. Using a more limited palette, often finishing in just 2 hours, but having one hidden benefit – the light barely changes because it’s gone!

Many of the nocturne paintings, including the winner by Stephen Johnston, are available for sale, contact us to check on availability and price, if interested.

Paint Out Norwich Winter Nocturne plein air paintings
Paint Out Norwich Winter Nocturne plein air paintings

Paint Out Norwich 2018 Prize Awards & Winning Paintings

Paint Out Norwich Award Winners 2018. Photo credit ©Simon Finlay Photography.

Paint Out Norwich 2018 saw over 275 works of art created by 35 artists, each in 2-4 hours, around 7 iconic locations, and across 4 days of extreme weather, first an Indian summer then freezing downpours for two days, then a return to sun and dry. The 14 prizewinners were sponsored by Leathes Prior Solicitors as well as a local interest prize from Norwich Art Supplies.

Wednesday night saw the Private View and Awards event decked out with Paint Out‘s distinctive contemporary, white-walled shelving, that allows the some-still-wet artworks to be displayed fresh, raw and unframed. Well over a dozen paintings were sold in a short buying spree before the award announcements.

Prizes: First | Oils | Watercolour/Acrylic | Mixed/Other Media | Nocturnes | Unilever/Colman’s | Spirit of Plein Air/Norwich/Public Vote

Paint Out Norwich 2018 Judges

Paint Out Norwich 2018 judges, Sarah Flynn, Tony Robinson, Giorgia Bottinell
Paint Out Norwich 2018 judges, Sarah Flynn, Tony Robinson, Giorgia. Bottinell. Photo © Katy Jon Went

The judges on the night, from the fields of art practice, art history, and fine art sales, were Dr Giorgia Bottinelli, curator of historic art at Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery, Sarah Flynn from Cheffins Art Auctioneers, and artist Tony Robinson of Art in the Open, Ireland.

The judging is a critical part of the jury-entry art event bringing a professional critique, educative commentary, and diverse determinations on the paintings by art world specialists. The independent judges had to agree on the overall winner and individual media category winners. They were also, however, able to nominate a commendation in their own right for a Judge’s Award prize:

  • Sarah Flynn, judge’s choice – Rob Pointon from Crewe for “Diagonal Light on the Seafood Stalls”, at Norwich Market

Sarah Flynn said of the process:

“I thoroughly enjoyed seeing such an interesting and diverse collection of mixed media artworks. I loved the Nocturnes – quite a hard thing to do. It made judging a delightful experience and good to do it with Georgia and Tony. What really came across was the fun all the artists had had and the camaraderie which had built up between them.”

Tony Robinson, an experienced artist himself, said:

“Thanks for the invitation to a marvellous event initiated by you and laid on with a selfless team. It will remain long in the memory and I urge any artist to put Paint Out Norwich in their timetable in their anorak and don’t miss it next year. It is a great platform for plein air painting…I was greatly impressed by the dedication, quality and inventiveness shown by the artists who took part. The organisers had set an artistic assault-course for them to try to portray and interpret the city of Norwich from her bustling market scenes to the academic quarter, and from the medieval streets around Tombland to 1960s slide-rule architecture in concrete, glass and steel. The result was a fascinating exhibition depicting the many facets of the city and several outstanding works of art. I commend the artists and organisers of Paint Out Norwich on a marvellous festival and the foremost plein air painting event in the UK.”

  • Giorgia Bottinelli, judge’s choice – Frances Martin, of Norwich, for “Peregrine Falcon Circling Wellington – with His Beak”, at Upper Close, Norwich Cathedral

Overall Winner, Rob Pointon

Paint Out Norwich Awards 2018 - Rob Pointon, First Prize. Photo credit ©Simon Finlay Photography.
Paint Out Norwich Awards 2018 – Rob Pointon, First Prize. Photo credit ©Simon Finlay Photography.

First Prize, being a combined category and first prize cheque for £500 donated by Leathes Prior, went to Cheshire artist Rob Pointon for his oil painting of Westlegate, “Changing Skyline”. Whilst being a seasoned artist, this was Rob’s first Paint Out. The 36-year-old painter said this of the event:

“PaintOut has been a thoroughly life enriching experience for me, it’s the first time I have entered the competition and despite having competed in other one day painting events was surprised at the intensity of the 5 day competition with back to back days of nearly 12 hours of competitive painting. I don’t normally work alla prima so to push through so many works in a short space of time was a tough but a healthy challenge. Having the competition over a number of days meant I had time to settle in to the beautiful city of Norwich and get past the obvious subjects, but more importantly was to gradually settle into a community of like-minded passionate artists, all giving their all for their craft, but at the same time helping and supporting one another. I have made a number of good friends and look forward to seeing them again at future events. Crammed in-between the intense periods of painting were high-level artist demonstrations and a number of superb lectures by excellent knowledgeable speakers. Before you have chance to catch a breath the work is displayed in the spectacular setting of Norwich Cathedral with wet paint warning signs and a busy Private View. To walk off with a number of prizes including Overall Winner was the icing on the cake! I look forward to future PaintOut events”

Media Category Winners

Paint Out Norwich Category Winners 2018. Photo credit ©Simon Finlay Photography.
Paint Out Norwich Category Winners 2018. Photo credit ©Simon Finlay Photography.

Further prizes, sponsored by Leathes Prior, were awarded in each of 4 categories:

Oils

First Prize: Rob Pointon, “Changing Skyline”.

Second Prize: Roger Dellar, “Light Coming Through the Market”. Roger last painted at Paint Out in 2016 when he also won a prize.

Third Prize: Sarah Allbrook. 31-year-old Paint Out first-timer Sarah is based in Cambridge but trained at NUA in Norwich.

Watercolour & Acrylic

First Prize: Shaun Carey, “Norwich Market 1”, painted on the first morning of the 2018 event in his stand-out trademark dark blue acrylic style.

Second Prize: Wendy Kimberley,”Wonky Bridges of Norfolk County”. Fresh from winning En Plein Air Windsor & Eton, Wendy picked up a deserved second place with a dark-styled acrylic daytime painting of St George’s Bridge by NUA.
Mixed & Other Media

First Prize: Alfie Carpenter, “He Shall Not Be Moved”. Marking a successful return to the competition despite a little opposition, on health and safety ground, to so many artists painting Anglia Square – hence the painting title! On the Awards night, he sold four paintings within minutes!

Second Prize: Tom Cringle, “The Memorial”, on St Peter’s Street at the top of the Market. Tom is now a regular Paint Out winner and continues to push his work in new directions at the event.

Nocturnes

2018 saw the return for the fourth-time of the popular and innovative nocturne – evening/nighttime painting category that sets Paint Out apart from other competitions.

First Prize: Susan Isaac, “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.

Second Prize: Paul Alcock, “Thorns by Night”, on Pottergate, a now classic local nocturne view with the warm orange glow of its nighttime lighting.

The Unilever Prize

Paint Out Norwich Awards 2018, Unilever Colman's Prize. Photo credit ©Simon Finlay Photography.
Unilever Colman’s Prize winners. Photo credit ©Simon Finlay Photography.

Marking the winding down of Colman’s production operations at the historic site and brand with a heritage stretching back over 200 years, Paint Out was granted access to the early 16th-century Grade I listed Benedictine Priory, Carrow Abbey and its 12th-century ruins on site. Carrow Abbey has been the subject of a number of notable paintings including “the Carrow Abbey hunt”, by the artist Philip Reinagle in 1780.

We are grateful to Unilever for two engraved silver Colman’s mustard pots that were presented to the winners.

First Prize: Alex Atkinson, “Rising from the Ruins”. In 2017, Alex won the Spirit of Norwich Prize at Paint Out.

Second Prize: Kate Gabriel, “Autumn at Carrow Abbey”

Additional Prizes

Paint Out Norwich Awards 2018 Spirit of Plein Air, John Behm. Photo credit ©Simon Finlay Photography.
Paint Out Norwich Awards 2018 Spirit of Plein Air, John Behm. Photo credit ©Simon Finlay Photography.

The Spirit of Plein Air award once again went to Taverham-based American artist John Behm for his braving a plunge into the River Wensum by scaling Fye Bridge, in order to rescue another artist’s work and easel!

A further prize, the Spirit of Norwich, sponsored by Norwich Art Supplies was awarded to Hannah Bruce for her diverse collection of artworks of Norwich in various media and styles.

The People’s Choice Exhibition vote went to Sarah Allbrook, who also won the Third Prize in Oils and sold very well at the Exhibition.

The paintings remain on view at the Norwich Cathedral Hostry as part of the Hostry Festival and Paint Out exhibition until 28 October. Last year some 8,000 people saw the 150+ paintings of 2017, with dozens of artworks selling. 

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