So, my final artist visit for this year’s Lexden Arts Festival!
It was a cold start to the day, yesterday, but by the time I had driven up to Stradbroke the sun had come out and the countryside in north Suffolk was looking beautiful, the hedges billowing with blackthorn blossom, the trees in new leaf, and the occasional field just showing yellow with oil seed rape.
Steve and his wife, Mita, welcomed me to their beautiful double fronted Victorian house where they have lived since returning to England from Utah in the US in 2008. Steve, who is originally from Nottingham, has painted all his life, but only after taking voluntary redundancy at 55 after a business career climbing the corporate ladder in the Paper Industry, did he have the opportunity to paint full time.
He originally used pastels, but he described to me the difficulties in framing them, which prompted his very successful switch to oils. Steve now exhibits and sells his work in many galleries, is a professional member of the SAA, and has been accepted as a candidate member of The East Anglian group of Marine Artists. His work has been featured in several publications, and he has shown with the Institute of East Anglian Artists. He told me that his proudest achievement so far has been the purchase of two of his paintings to be part of the House of Lords Permanent Art Collection.
Steve and Mita – who is a watercolour artist – share a studio upstairs at the back of the house. They each have a designated ‘end’ of the room, and Mita said they had certain unwritten rules about sharing the space!
Steve’s paintings, which were all around his end of the room, and hung on the landing outside, show his love for the East Anglian landscape and coast, with many showing scenes of rural Suffolk, and of the North Norfolk Coast, and the Suffolk coast around Aldeburgh and Snape. Although he was doubtful whether he had enough work to show with us, we had no difficulty in selecting twelve paintings, and I shall enjoying hanging them next week – I know they are going to be really popular with the Festival go-ers!
The unfinished painting on Steve’s easel can now be seen, finished, on his Facebook page – he must have worked hard yesterday afternoon after I left! To see other paintings of Steve’s go to www.shigtonart.co.uk
The Festival is getting very close now – it opens to the public a week tomorrow, on 2nd May. The art exhibition is open every day from then until Saturday 9th May from 10.30am-4.30pm, except for Sunday 3rd (1.00pm – 4.30pm) and Wednesday ( 12noon – 4.30pm). Refreshments are available at all opening hours, and light lunches are available on 2nd, 4th, 5th, 7th and 9th between 12.30-2.30pm. If you are near Colchester, do call in to see the exhibition, and do come and say hello – I shall be at the Reception desk all week, so I’ll be easy to find. 🙂
Details of all the Festival evening events are on the website, too – www.lexdenartsfestival.org.uk – where you can buy tickets on line. If you are interested in having a go at something creative yourself, details of the two textile workshops are also available on the Festival website, and tickets for these may be purchased there, too.
Only one more week! Get excited!! 🙂