Dr Giorgia Bottinelli, curator of historic art at Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery gives a talk on a member of the Norwich school of artists – ‘John Sell Cotman in Norwich and London’
These days John Sell Cotman is recognised as one of the foremost watercolourists of the 19th Century. In his lifetime, however, Cotman never achieved the recognition he felt he deserved. So overlooked was he that not one single obituary was published after his death in July 1842. This talk will focus on the last two decades of Cotman’s life when he attempted to make a name for himself first in Norwich and then in London.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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 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.
“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).
Following up on our successful mass Sunrise ‘paint out’ as part of Paint OutWells 2015 we are holding a similar event at Paint Out Norwich, October 22, 1:30-4:30pm. Members of the public of any age or artistic ability are welcome to join dozens of Paint Out competition artists in a mass painting session on Mousehold Heath with its expansive views overlooking the city of Norwich. Already, we are expecting over 80 artists aged 5-85, including 3 generations of one family. Read more about the event here.
You will need to bring your own equipment and meet outside the Cafe Britannia, 3 Britannia Rd, Norwich, Norfolk NR1 4LU.
Several of the famous Norwich School of Artists including John Crome and John Sell Cotman painted Mousehold Heath in the 19th century. Norwich-born novelist, and one time Lord Mayor, RH Mottram was another artist who loved the open space of Mousehold Heath. He once described it as “the property of those who have the privilege of Norwich birth”. Since 1880 it has been public property and a perfect location to paint the wide cityscape of Norwich from.
Paint Out competition participants will have their work exhibited automatically. Other public ‘paint out’ artists should get a Paint Out stamp upon registration at Mousehold and be responsible for returning their work to Norwich. Paint Out is hoping to exhibit for up to a week all of the public art works or as many as space allows at the OPEN venue in Norwich, Oct 25 – Nov 1.
Public artists should affix sufficient secure fixings either on the back of frames or (if unframed on the back of the surfaces) to facilitate hanging. Paint Out has the right to exclude any work that is insufficiently prepared for hanging. We accept that with artists aged from 5-85 these instructions may not apply rigidly to all art works and we will do our best to display everything including younger artworks.
Paint Out Norwich Mass Art Event on Mousehold Heath
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.
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 Pressthis 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 artistspainting 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.
Mousehold Heath has featured in significant Norwich history in several centuries stretching back nearly 900 years. From William of Norwich in 1144 to thePeasant’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
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.
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 Norwichen plein air painting competition.
Mousehold Heath, Norwich
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:
“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