Paint Out took to a double-decker bus for fresh plein air views of Norwich

Paint Out on the art bus

Plein Air paintout from an open-top bus!

Paint Out artists on the bus
Paint Out artists on the bus.

Paint Out‘s first public en plein air art event of 2017 saw a dozen or so artists find fresh views and a new perspective of Norwich seen across the Market to the Castle, the Guildhall, and St Peter Mancroft, on a sunny bank holiday weekend Sunday.

The vision of James Colman to keep landscape artists challenged by looking at the urban environment in new ways has seen a hundred artists gather on Mousehold Heath in 2015 for panoramic views of Norwich, and in 2016 saw artists amass in Tombland and take to canoes on the River Wensum. 

Last weekend was the turn of an open-top double-decker bus, supplied by Dolphin Travel with amiable driver, Andrew – who also supplied the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack that kept the artists painting in the hot sun during the afternoon session.

 

Artists featured

Paint Out artists Mary Kallagher and Jan Halliwell
Paint Out artists Mary Kallagher and Jan Halliwell

As well as members of the public including an artist’s teenage son joining in, there were Paint Out regulars including the artists: John Behm, Mary Brady, Karen Adams, Jack Godfrey, Mary Kallagher, and James Colman himself.

Some artists like Jan Halliwell travelled down from Lincolnshire to join the Norfolk paint out on the streets of the city, alongside the bus.

Paint Out welcomes experienced artists to its juried-entry art competitions but also runs public entry paint-outs for artist of all ages and abilities to encourage people into discovering and furthering their artistic creativity. 

Art skills workshops were run the day before to tutor budding and honed talents alike.

The Paint Out Bus will return

Artists on the Paint Out bus
Artists on the Paint Out bus

“The Paint Out bus this weekend provided us with a fantastic hub from which to tell the world about our forthcoming 2017-18 programme plans. Our artists found their elevated experience inspirational.

For contestants at Paint Out Norwich and Wells, it provides a great add-on for our Nocturne and main events and provides a forum with which to engage with the public. Chameleon-like, expect the bus to take on many guises in its quest to take plein air painting across the UK.” – James Colman

Future Paint Out events

Paint Out will be popping up again as guests of the two-day Royal Norfolk Show, June 28-29, and then at our full plein air painting competition events at Wells-next-the-Sea, 15-17 September, and at Norwich, 15-17 October.

Paint Out artists on the bus Mary Brady and John Behm
Paint Out artists on the bus Mary Brady and John Behm. Photo by Katy Jon Went

100 Artists Paint Norwich from Mousehold Heath mass Art Event

Artists on Mousehold Heath at Paint Out Norwich 2015

Mousehold Heath filled with 100 Artists

A fantastic turnout of well over 90 people, by some counts 100+, amassed on Mousehold Heath yesterday. Not a reenactment of the 1549 Kett’s Rebellion but a mass art event with dozens of artists painting side by side the skyline views of Norwich before a beautiful sunset descended.

Artists painting on Mousehold Heath at Paint Out Norwich 2015
Artists painting on Mousehold Heath at Paint Out Norwich 2015
DSC_0076 Artist Andrew Horrod painting on Mousehold Heath at Paint Out Norwich 2015
DSC_0076 Artist Andrew Horrod painting on Mousehold Heath at Paint Out Norwich 2015

The light changed frequently adding to the en plein air challenge of painting a changing scene with the distraction of public gaze, press filming, bemused dog-walkers, and kids either rolling on the green hillside or picking up crayons to draw their own young masterpieces.  The attraction of the varied views and inspiration of so many fellow artists of all ages and abilities made the event a resounding success, and one we will no doubt repeat.

One of the judges for Paint Out‘s core and nocturne event prize awards, David Curtis, also took up his easel and palette to paint. Renowned local ‘pop artist’ Colin Self was also about the Heath planning to do a brass rubbing.

The Big Draw

Artist Jack Godfrey draws the skyline from Mousehold Heath at Paint Out Norwich 2015
Artist Jack Godfrey draws the skyline from Mousehold Heath at Paint Out Norwich 2015

The event proved to be a big draw, bringing people not just from Norfolk but several driving 3-4 hours from Kent and Yorkshire just to take part in the public spectacle. October is also the month of the world’s biggest drawing competition – The Big Draw, with events taking place all month, so it was appropriate for art in all its forms from pens to paint, brass-rubbing to mixed media collage, to be taking place on the Heath.

Art for All Ages and Abilities

Artist Susannah Sendall creating art on Mousehold Heath at Paint Out Norwich 2015
Artist Susannah Sendall creating art on Mousehold Heath at Paint Out Norwich 2015

Unlike our juried entry main Plein Air competition this event was open to all-comers by prior registration and nearly 60 signed up to join around 40 Paint Out artists. Many just showed up on the day and braved the initially ominous but turning-out-to-be beautiful weather. All ages from 5 to 85 were represented including whole families treating art on the Heath as a creative day out. Picnic blankets filled with pens and paints, rather food and fizz, filled the undulating slopes as people sought the best positions to paint the landscape.

Three generations of one family took part – from grandmother to mother and daughters. The artistic East Anglian Sendall family also included a mother and daughter pairing, Jennifer and Susannah Sendall, taking part in the main competition as well.

Media Frenzy

Both uses of the word media were in evidence as most forms of media were represented. Artists using oils, paints, pastels, pens, papier mache, glue, grass, and even a beer can, meant mixed media was much in evidence in the creation of art works. Meanwhile, radio, TV, photographers and videographers grabbed footage of the rolling hills and heath filled with artists and families on a fun day out for all.

Mustard TV report: Masterpieces on Mousehold: 100 budding artists gather to ‘Paint Out Norwich’

Cass Art Sponsorship

Artist Susannah Sendall's Heath Noir at Paint Out Norwich and Cass Art Mousehold Heath plein air art event
Artist Susannah Sendall’s “Heath Noir” at Paint Out Norwich and Cass Art’s Mousehold Heath plein air art event

Cass Art were our sponsors for the event, their mission being to “fill this town with artists”, the hills were indeed filled with artists of all ages and who gratefully received Cass Art discount vouchers and later next week will also be awarded Cass Art prizes to spend online or at Cass Art stores.

Several artists had clearly shopped there before as some Cass Art bags were in evidence on the heath alongside the Paint Out bags.

The public Mousehold works were displayed at OPEN and the main competition artists paintings are on display at various venues across Norwich throughout October and November.

Public Mousehold Heath artworks on diplay at OPEN for Cass Art/Paint Out Norwich 2015 photo by Katy Jon Went
Public Mousehold Heath artworks on diplay at OPEN for Cass Art/Paint Out Norwich 2015

Café Britannia

The Paint Out artists were well fed courtesy of Café Britannia and quite a number of artists turned their backs on Norwich, which at times became contre-jour and instead chose to paint the Victorian Prison or Barracks turned café. The former home of the Royal Norfolk Regiment barracks is an imposing red brick building almost matching the Autumnal colours of the trees in seasonal change.

Paint Out and Cass Art mass painting event at Mousehold Heath outside Cafe Britannia
Paint Out and Cass Art mass painting event at Mousehold Heath outside Cafe Britannia

“Café Britannia is a shabby chic café offering freshly cooked British cuisine. Open 7 days a week, the café is staffed by category D low risk prisoners, that have volunteered to learn new skills, improve their lives and make a fresh start. All tips and profits generated from the café go to rehabilitating prisoners and charitable causes.”

Public Art Exhibition at OPEN

The Paint Out competition artworks will be displayed alongside the core and nocturne painting events of the last few days at the Cathedral Hostry gallery exhibition show of nearly 200 artworks from Saturday 24-30th October. The Mousehold public artworks will be displayed from Tuesday 27th till Saturday 31st October at the OPEN venue (20 Bank Plain, top of London Street, Norwich NR2 4SF).

Autumn Sunset over Norwich Cathedrals from Mousehold Heath
Autumnal sunset over Norwich Cathedrals from Mousehold Heath as Paint Out artists departed

 

Bold & Expressive: Mixed Media From Life Art Workshop with Denis Clarke

Mixed Media Art Workshop in Norwich

Australian artist, Denis Clarke, is in Norwich for Paint Out‘s art competition and events the week of 19-23 October. Before hitting the streets of Norwich with over 40 other artists and some 80 artists on Thursday at the mass Mousehold Heath ‘paint out’ he will be delivering an art workshop on Monday 19 October. Open to artists of all abilities, why not get enthused and inspired by this rare opportunity to be taught by a visiting experienced artist and art teacher.

Bold and Expressive: Mixed Media From Life

Denis Clarke, People Moving in Laneway, Mixed media
Denis Clarke, People Moving in Laneway, Mixed media

The workshop is titled “Bold and Expressive: Mixed Media From Life” and is an introduction to some diversions from habitual ways we look and draw from a subject. Methods might be challenging to get your thinking more attuned to a practice of learning to see form and space using drawing media as well as paint. Expressive use of mark and gesture will be encouraged.

Matisse proclaimed that to see things fresh and as if for the first time, “as if with the eye of a child” was a constant effort. Drawing is an ongoing dialogue in which you are being encouraged to suspend disbelief so as to encourage all the senses to respond. The sense of touch or imagined sense of touch seems to be as present in all good drawing as the sense of sight. Clumsiness and refinement, accident and control, may interchange in the process.

The otherness or impact of nature seems to be our ongoing goal to a realization of a meaningful statement in a mix of drawing media as well as paint.

Denis is renowned for devising and delivering innovative master class courses linking observational drawing to creative and experimental methods with drawing and mixed media. This is a rare opportunity to learn from an international artist and art teacher.

View more of Denis Clarke’s landscapes and urban artworks on his website.

About Denis Clarke, the Artist

Denis Clarke Austrlian artist art lecturer
Denis Clarke Austrlian artist & art lecturer

Denis Clarke is a well established artist who exhibits and teaches in Australia and the UK. He studied at the National Art School Sydney, St Martins School of Art, London and Byam Shaw School of Art, London. He also taught in Switzerland and was awarded a studio scholarship at at the Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris. He has been both the  recipient of major awards as well as judged several prestigious art prizes.

From 1975 to 1998, Denis lived, exhibited and taught in London and Switzerland, teaching at the Camden School of Art, London and exhibiting most notably in London at Gillian Jason Gallery, Boundary Gallery and three one-man shows at James Colman Gallery at Montpelier Sandelson, Knightsbridge.

In 1998 Denis returned to live and paint in Sydney, where he exhibited with the Harris Courtin Gallery in Sydney. In 2003 he was awarded the Blackfriars Drawing Acquisitive. He has collaborated with several premier arts organizations such as Opera Factory in London and Switzerland, Warwickshire Arts Festival in the UK, and most recently as the artist in residence at Wollombi Valley Arts Council.

Denis has lectured at the National Art School, Sydney Australia, for ten years, and runs master classes and summer schools at numerous art institutions, universities and colleges.

Art Workshop Booking

 

Denis will offer the following art workshop on Monday 19 October in Norwich:

  • Bold and Expressive: Mixed Media From Life with Denis Clarke

Offered, as part of Paint Out Norwich 2014 local and visiting amateur, aspiring and experienced artists, as well as members of the competition, are all welcome to take part. The workshop will take place from 10am and includes lunch in the £50 package price. You will need to bring your own art materials.

There is also an oil painting workshop with Paint Out veteran Michael Richardson if you prefer to work with traditional oils instead of mixed media.

Please book here.

Artists Mass Paint Out on Mousehold Heath, Norwich

Artists Brian Korteling and James Colman on Mousehold Heath for Paint Out Norwich ©Mark Ivan Benfield

Paint Out Norwich Mass Art Event on Mousehold Heath

Karen Adams and Will Topley at Paint Out Wells Public Sunrise Art Event
Karen Adams and Will Topley at Paint Out Wells Public Sunrise Art Event

Following up on the successful mass Sunrise ‘paint out’ at Norfolk’s Wells-next-the-Sea as part of Paint Out Wells 2015, Paint Out are holding a similar event for artists of all ages and abilities at Paint Out Norwich, October 22, 1:30-4:30pm. Register to take part for free.

Over 40 Paint Out Norwich competition artists will join members of the public – amateur and keen artists alike, in a mass painting session on historic Mousehold Heath with its expansive skyline views overlooking the city of Norwich taking in the towering spire of Norwich Cathedral.

Cass Art Prize Sponsorship

Cass Art logoOnce again, as Cass Art did at the Wells sunrise event, Cass Art have announced that they will supply substantial art voucher prizes to reward a range of public artists, young and adult alike, with art supplies to keep their talent growing. Cass Art are also sponsoring an art bursary prize for the best young artist 30 or under at the Paint Out Norwich competition.

Mass ‘Paint Out’ Sparks Media Interest

Painters of all ages invited to take part in open-air art event in Norwich, EDP, 13 October 2015
Painters of all ages invited to take part in open-air art event in Norwich, EDP, 13 October 2015

Already the mass ‘paint out’ is attracting press attention having been discussed on BBC Radio Norfolk and made the front and inside pages of the Norwich Evening News & Eastern Daily Press this week.

Over 55 public artists have already registered and people can still register until the day itself. One entire family from age 5 upwards have registered to truly make this an all-age event with others as old as 85 taking part.  Another family is represented by three generations of grandmother, mother and daughters, of whom, two are also entering the core competition!

The Heath will therefore could be filled with over 90 combined artists painting the landscape in pastels, oils, watercolour, acrylic, pen and ink, mixed media, drawing or anything else that can be applied to canvas/board/paper. October is also the month of the world’s biggest drawing festival the Big Draw art event whose theme this year is “every drawing tells a story”. Last year’s Norwich competition even saw plein air screen-printing! You can bring canvas, board, paper, sketchpad, or anything else on which to make art, that can be hung on a wall at the OPEN venue in Norwich, Tuesday 27 – Saturday 31 October.

View the event on Facebook and sign up to take part for free.

Historic Mousehold Heath

Mousehold Heath has featured in significant Norwich history in several centuries stretching back nearly 900 years.  From William of Norwich in 1144 to the Peasant’s Revolt of 1381 and in 1549 it served as a launchpad for the Kett’s Rebellion. If this Paint Out event continues to gather pace it will be a significant mass gathering and historic open air art event itself.

Norwich School of Artists

Mousehold Heath from Silver Road, painted by John Sell Cotman, 1810
Mousehold Heath from Silver Road, painted by John Sell Cotman, 1810

Both Mousehold Heath itself and the view of Norwich from it have featured in 19th century paintings by several members of the Norwich School of Artists including John Crome and John Sell Cotman. Paint Out‘s mission is to reinvigorate and redefine en plein air art for the 21st century and its growing Plein Air competitions and public art event inclusivity mean that it is well on its way to bringing art to the masses, just as the Norwich School of Artists in 1803 was Britain’s first provincial art movement founded by and for working-class artists. They even held their first art meeting in the The Hole in the Wall tavern.

John Crome began life as the son of a weaver and went from being an apprentice sign-painter to being collected and exhibited in The Tate Gallery, Royal Academy and by the philanthropist and politician Jeremiah James Colman, a scion of the famous Colman’s Mustard family. The works he amassed were eventually donated to the Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery.

View the event on Facebook and sign up to take part for free.

Norwich from Mousehold Heath, Norfolk, painted by Ernest Haslehust, 1920
Norwich from Mousehold Heath, Norfolk, painted by Ernest Haslehust, 1920

 

 

Why should anyone tell me I can’t paint a sunset? – Hermann Albert

Thomas Cole L Allegro Italian Sunset 1845

“You can’t paint that anymore these days”

Why can’t you paint what has been painted before? German artist, Hermann Albert asked in 1972 of whether one can still paint an idyllic Tuscan countryside scene. “Why can’t you? You can do everything. Why should anyone tell me I can’t paint a sunset?”

“In the summer of 1972 I was in Florence for a while, and one weekend I went on a trip to the mountains with some colleagues. We got out of the car and there we were standing in the Tuscan countryside, with cypress trees, the olive groves and the old houses–it was harmony…. The sun was setting and soon it was out of sight, but the rays of sunlight were still, illuminating the countryside obliquely, the shadows were getting longer and longer, and you could sense the approach of nightfall although it was really still daytime. We stood there, with our own consciousness, looking at this dramatic spectacle, and suddenly one of us said “Its a pity you can’t paint that anymore these days.” That had been a key word I’d heard ever since I started trying to be a painter. And I said to him, out of pure impudence: “Why can’t you? You can do everything.” It was only after I’d said it that I realized what had initially been a piece of provocation was really true. Why should anyone tell me I can’t paint a sunset?” – Hermann Albert from an exhibition catalogue, 1985 by Thiele-Dohrmann

Michael Richardson painting the Forum, Norwich Oct 2014
Michael Richardson painting the Forum, Norwich Oct 2014

In commenting, on whether repetition of what has been painted before lacks originality, the art critic Arthur Coleman Danto decried that on the contrary one should neither be put off nor be blinded to the freshness of the new interpretation.

“As a critic, I am never put off by the fact that what an artist does has been done before. That someone did it “first,” it seems to me, is often an observation that only blinds you to what the artist did who did it “second.” The repetition need not entail a lack of originality.” – Arthur Coleman Danto, 1993 

James Colman, one of the founders of Paint Out Norwich (and now Wells-next-the-Sea), was inspired to set up a plein air arts competition that draws dozens of artists with easels to paint similar locations but each interpreting it in their own ways. He says:

Timothy Betjeman painting St John's Roman Catholic Cathedral, Norwich, October 2014
Timothy Betjeman painting St John’s Roman Catholic Cathedral, Norwich, October 2014

“Until you’ve started the plein air journey your perception as to what it takes to do it to a very high standard may be clouded by having to walk on the shoulders of giants or having to overcome the fear of being ridiculed as some outmoded eccentric. Forget that straight away. Easel painting never went away. Pick up your brushes and come and join us in Wells. You may surprise yourself. It will open up a whole new world of challenges. You will meet new and interesting people and it will be a lot of fun along the way. See you there!”

Easels are indeed not dead, in fact, they are being revived as Paint Out and other plein air events revive open air painting across the UK, Ireland, Europe, and America. You can see easels everywhere during 9-11 September in Wells, North Norfolk and 20-22 October in Norwich. You can apply to take part or enter the public sunrise ‘paint out’.

 

 

Media covers emerging Paint Out Norwich 2015 details

Mustard News previews Paint Out Norwich 2015 & interviews organiser James Colman, 31 March 2015

TV & Press cover Paint Out Norwich 2015 Competition details

Regional press and television – the EDP, Norwich Evening News, and Mustard TV – covered the announcement of further details about this year’s Paint Out Norwich en plein air painting competition.

Mousehold Heath, Norwich

Paint Out Norwich 2015 announcement, Norwich Evening News, 31 March 2015
Paint Out Norwich 2015 announcement, Norwich Evening News, 31 March 2015

Mousehold Heath, overlooking Norwich’s historic views, will be among new and additional locations taken on by up to 50 jury-selected artists.

Mousehold Heath set to feature in return of art competition celebrating Norwich … including a mass painting event which will see all the artists gather together at Mousehold Heath to paint the city’s skyline on October 22″, Norwich Evening News

In Tudor times, Mousehold Heath once stretched as far north as South Walsham and was then 22 miles round in size. It is a historic site that has been a part of a battle, Peasants’ revolt and was the location of the 16,000  men of Kett’s rebellion before they stormed Norwich.

Mousehold Heath has featured in famous paintings by several of the Norwich School of Artists, including John Crome and John Sell Cotman, as well as the Norwich born novelist and artist, and former Lord Mayor, RH Mottram.

Up until the early 1900s, Mousehold Heath was open countryside with few trees –

“a classic heathland landscape. The area was kept open by grazing animals and by local people collecting bedding and feed for livestock and fuel for the winter. As the way people lived changed, these traditions disappeared. This resulted in a gradual loss of open heath to scrub and woodland.” Read more about Mousehold Heath’s history and conservation.

Norwich Nocturne Painting Challenge

James Colman, who organises Paint Out Norwich with Will Buckley, said:

Moonlight in Norwich, John Crome, Norwich School of Artists
Moonlight in Norwich, John Crome, Norwich School of Artists

“We are very excited about doing Paint Out Norwich again and that we are expanding it to include more artists. We are also going to diversify the programme so that we keep our core event from last year but on top of that we are going to have a select number of artists doing a nocturnal event that will run parallel to the day event.”, Norwich Evening News

“On two nights there are going to be a limited number of artists out on the streets painting illuminated Norwich“, Mustard TV

Confirmed Paint Out Competition Details

It is confirmed therefore, that the 2015 Paint Out Norwich competition will have 3 painting days and 2 nights 20-22 October, with an auction and exhibition in the 2 weeks following.

“Just by the sheer enthusiasm of people in Norwich responding well to all the artists’ work we feel this is an exciting prospect and I think it will grow and grow– James Colman, Mustard TV

Paint Out Norwich Returns, 2015 Competition Dates Announced

Paint Out Norwich, October 2015, press media launch, Mousehold Heath, Norfolk

After the success of Paint Out Norwich last year, Norfolk’s premier “Plein Air” art (painting and other media) competition returns 19-23 October 2015.

 

Paint Out Norwich 2015 co-founder, James Colman, painting en plein air at Mousehold Heath media launch
Paint Out Norwich 2015 co-founder, James Colman, painting en plein air at Mousehold Heath media launch

 

This year’s competition will run during the week of 19 October and will see more artists, additional locations, and new features to be confirmed over the course of this month. The event will again culminate in a gala, auction, and an exhibition of the artists’ work to continue two weeks after the event.

The en plein air Norfolk-based art competition aims to attract national and international talent with this growing annual event that focuses on the challenges imposed by creating work “on the spot” in the urban environment, fast-changing light, and prevailing  weather conditions.

As well as the competition itself, Paint Out Norwich aims to promote the local Norwich and Norfolk arts scene, and provide a dynamic interactive educational experience for onlookers.

Read the full press release announcing Paint Out Norwich 2015 competition dates and taster details.

 

Selection Panel & Process for Paint Out Norwich 2014

Applications Closed

Applications for the inaugural Paint Out Norwich 2014 competition closed at midnight on 1 September. The “overwhelmingly positive response from artists near and far” has meant hard work for the selection panel.

Selection Panel & Process

Between September 1 and 21 the submitted artists are being scrutinised by our panel of experts including Will Buckley, James Colman, Rev Dr Peter Doll, Mike King, and Stephanie Sinclair, in order to select not only the best, but a varied range of styles to make for an interesting and exciting competition that will appeal to both artists and appreciators of art.

Competing Artists to be Announced

Paint Out Norwich will announce the final cut of artists from among the nearly 60 who entered in the week beginning 22 September after what will no doubt be an arduous selection task.

 

 

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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