Pop Artist Colin Self joins Paint Out Norwich events

Colin Self, Waiting Women and 2 Nuclear Bombers (Handley Page Victors), 1962, Oil on board

Pop Artist Colin Self joins Paint Out Norwich events

Colin Self, Large Harvest Field with two Hay Bales at Happisburgh, Norfolk, 1984 Oil (with some straw in paint)
Colin Self, Large Harvest Field with two Hay Bales at Happisburgh, Norfolk, 1984 Oil (with some straw in paint)

It is with great pleasure that Paint Out Norwich welcomes the involvement of the well known Norfolk and internationally acclaimed artist Colin Self. Colin was a judge at Paint Out Norwich 2014 and this year he has graciously agreed to be a guest artist at both the Tuesday and Wednesday evening nocturne competition sessions and at the public mass Mousehold Heath ‘paint out’ which is already expecting some 70-80+ artists of all ages and abilities to paint Norwich from the Heath on the Friday afternoon (22 October). Colin envisages basing himself around Norwich Castle for the two nocturne evenings 6.30-9.30pm on 20-21 October.

In 2009, Colin was invited to create a new graduation mace for the Norwich University College of the Arts (NUCA, now NUA). Its handle was made to resemble Norfolk reeds to be “reminiscent of this beautiful place,” said Colin.

“We chose Colin to design the mace because he has an international reputation as a fine artist and is an ex-student from the old Norwich School of Art and Design.” – David Girling from NUA

About Colin Self the Artist

Colin Self artist
Colin Self

Colin Self is a draughtsman, printmaker, sculptor and painter. He is best known as a ‘Pop Artist’, whose work addressed the theme of Cold War politics. He studied first at Norwich Art School and in 1961 he entered the Slade School of Fine Arts in London. Artist Richard Hamilton called him:

“the best draughtsman in England since William Blake.”

Whilst at the Slade, he met artists, David Hockney and Peter Blake, who greatly admired Self’s paintings. He went on to become one of the forerunners, along with the likes of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, of the ‘Pop Art’ movement.

In 1962 and 1965 he travelled to the Canada and the USA with David Hockney which heightened his consciousness of Cold War politics. Events such as the Cuban Missile Crisis and CND marches led him to create highly-innovative works including a series of drawings that had imminent nuclear destruction as a theme whilst others contained Art Deco cinema interiors or hot dogs.

He also produced works “featuring apparently harmless motifs from contemporary life and consumer society which at times convey an unexpected atmosphere of violence and sexual threat. His intention was to produce a detailed record of his society which, in the event of its destruction, would convey its essential qualities to anyone coming across his work in the future.”

Return to Norwich, Norfolk

Colin Self, Norfolk Landscape with Cow, 1984 Mixed Media, Oil and model cow
Colin Self, Norfolk Landscape with Cow, 1984 Mixed Media, Oil and model cow

In 1965, disillusioned and suspicious of the commercial art world, Self returned permanently to Norwich and spent most of the 1970s in artistic solitiude where Norfolk has been his “spiritual and visual inspiration” which he has portrayed in watercolours, charcoal, and mixed media including a toy cow!

“The landscape in some ways is my visual script. Hidden in there behind the lie of the land is not only my past but the past of everyone, my future and my energy.” – Colin Self, BBC interview

During this time both “his subject matter and his repertoire of techniques continued to expand, taking in atmospheric Norfolk landscapes, still-lifes and quirky observations of human behaviour.”

In the politically charged 1980s he visited the Soviet Union for inspiration returning to produce some surrealist collage works which seem “remarkably prescient in the light of events” such as 9/11, and yet he also created works with humour and a lighter touch.

Since 2000, he has worked on his ‘Odyssey/Iliad’ multiple-plate etchings series aiming to re-tell Homer’s classical story using contemporary images.

He has been exhibited at the Tate Gallery (1995) where several of his works reside in their collections, and Pallant House Gallery (2008).

Paint Out Norwich 2014 Winners and Prizes

Prize winners and their cheques - Chris Daynes (2nd), Haidee-Jo Summers (1st), Roy Connelly (3rd) [L to R]

Challenges of the Competition

The inaugural Paint Out Norwich competition saw a high standard of work among the over 100 entries by 28 artists at 7 locations spread across the 2 days of 22-23 October. A maximum allowed painting time of 3 hours for each canvas, very often ended up as less, with setting up, selecting a viewpoint and possibly changing their minds. Some artists managed more than one painting in a single session, another was able to knock off early!

“I have never seen people paint as a competitive sport before … it was astonishing to witness in the city … what really amazed us was that this brought together … pressure of time limit, pressure of light, pressure of constantly interacting with a public … to a deadline.” – Amanda Geitner, Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts (SCVA)

Judges’ Comments

The judges – Trevor Chamberlain, Colin Self, and Amanda Geitner, were “knocked sideways by the extraordinarily consistent, commanding quality of the works” and were absolutely in accord in their choices of winners. The competition brought an opportunity “to celebrate the tenacity of figurative painting, the skill and discipline of painting … experienced in the real.” – Amanda Geitner, SCVA

The Prizes and Winners

Haidee-Jo Summers“Work to be Done” (#53)
Haidee-Jo Summers (1st Prize) with her winning painting - Work to be Done
Haidee-Jo Summers (1st Prize) with her winning painting – Work to be Done

First Prize, sponsored by Savills, went to Haidee-Jo Summers for her piece, “Work to be Done”, created outside the corner craft shop looking down Elm Hill, past the suddenly erected scaffolding and “road closed” signs that had appeared overnight and remained for just 24 hours. She wins £1000. Haidee is a veteran winner of Plein Air painting competitions across the country and has a track record of half a dozen prizes under her belt recently.

Chris Daynes, “The Watergate” (#8)
Chris Daynes (2nd Prize) with his painting - The Watergate
Chris Daynes (2nd Prize) with his painting – The Watergate

The Second Prize of £500, courtesy of The EDP, went to Chris Daynes for his oil painting at Pull’s Ferry called “The Watergate”.

Roy Connelly, “The Dark Entry” (#63)
Roy Connelly (3rd Prize) with his painting - The Dark Entry
Roy Connelly (3rd Prize) with his painting – The Dark Entry

Third Prize of £250, also courtesy of The EDP, went to Roy Connelly for his Norwich Cathedral doorway painting called “The Dark Entry”).

People’s Choice Award

The People’s Choice Award was determined on 2 November when voting closed. This was an art hamper worth £250 donated by Norwich Art Supplies. It was won by Liam Wales.

Thanks to our Sponsors and Volunteers

None of this would have happened without the generous overall sponsorship of Broadland Wines, printing courtesy of Ten Group‘s City College Norwich print room, and the tireless commitment of time and energy of our team and volunteers. A beautiful gesture was made by one of the artists, Wil Harvey, in order to appreciate the work of the volunteers, and he donated another one of his Norwich ink drawings to a draw-selected volunteer. Jeanette McCracken was the lucky winner and recipient.

Prize winners and their paintings - Chris Daynes (2nd), Haidee-Jo Summers (1st), Roy Connelly (3rd) [L to R]
Prize winners and their paintings – Chris Daynes (2nd), Haidee-Jo Summers (1st), Roy Connelly (3rd) [L to R]

Honourable Mentions

Francesca Heathorn’s red “Phone boxes” (#72)

One of the judges, the artist Colin Self, said that he “couldn’t believe that somebody sitting their engaging with the real had made a work that to him transported him into a really hallucinogenic dream state”, there was something other worldly about it, he was struck powerfully by it, whatever the artist’s intention.

Simon Page’s “Marzanos – the Forum” (#106)

“With so many arresting, charming, extraordinary, transporting, views outside the city environment it was great that one of the artists pulled us up right short into a really direct encounter with bodies, with people, in the crush of an urban environment.” – Amanda Geitner

Cornelia Fitzroy’s “Crome Gallery” (#11) at Elm Hill

“Yours was the cool glass of water,… calm, clarity of … work” – Amanda Geitner

Auction and Exhibition

Exhibition conversation with Haidee-Jo Summers First Prize Winner
Exhibition conversation with Haidee-Jo Summers First Prize Winner

Some of the paintings sold at the Auction event, attended by nearly 200 people, within hours of the paintings being completed – indeed, many were not yet dry, and some may not be for days and weeks to come! Many have subsequently sold at the Exhibition which ran until 2 November at the Norwich Cathedral Hostry, however they all remained on display for the duration for viewing the winners, honourable mentions, and those still available for purchase. An online version of the exhibition will follow in due course.

Numbers, e.g., (#53), mentioned above relate to the painting numbers in the Exhibition gallery at the Hostry.

Announcing Paint Out Norwich 2014

Paint Out Norwich 2014 is a 2-day plein air painting competition at prominent Norwich city venues during the October Hostry Festival, now in its fourth year.

Experienced artists are invited to submit applications by 1st September in order to participate in the open air event which will  feature the following painting locations and their immediate surroundings:

Paint Out Norwich in EDP news story
Photo ©EDP (used by permission)

The days set aside for painting are Wednesday and Thursday 22-23 October 2014 and the public are invited to watch the works in progress.

Prizes to be won:

  • First prize – £1000
  • Second prize – £500
  • Third prize – £250
  • People’s Choice Award – art materials hamper (provided by Norwich Art Supplies)

Judges for the competition include:

  • Trevor Chamberlain, independent leading Plein Air artist
  • Colin Self, internationally acclaimed Norwich-based artist
  • Amanda Geitner, Head of Exhibitions at The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, UEA.

In an interview with the EDP James Colman, part of the Paint Out Norwich Selection Team, said:

“This year we thought it would be a good move to take the visual arts into the streets of Norwich. It’s all about getting people excited about visual arts and the festival because there are lots of great things going on. For the first year we thought it would be a popular move to create paintings inspired by the great landmarks of Norwich and see what people come up with, there will be different interpretations and we are interested in new and novel ways of looking at our great landmarks.”

See more from the EDP story of the competition announcement.

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