Linda boosting tourism with A Brush with the Broads

PUBLISHED: 14:11 22 July 2014 | UPDATED: 14:11 22 July 2014

Artist Linda Matthews from Broad Skies Gallery, Ludham Bridge.

Artist Linda Matthews from Broad Skies Gallery, Ludham Bridge. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2014

Gallery owner Linda Matthews is preparing to put on her first painting festival - A Brush with the Broads - which she hopes will become an annual fixture on the tourism calendar.

More than 20 artists from all over Britain have already signed up for the event in September and interest is coming in from as far afield as Europe and the US.

Linda, 50, who runs painting courses and holidays from her Broad Skies Gallery, at Ludham Bridge, between Ludham and Horning, said: “I would like to establish it as an event for up to 200 artists, which will be a real boost to the local economy.

“On a much bigger scale, the Houghton Revisited exhibition demonstrated the positive impact art can have on tourism.”

The former Metropolitan Police sergeant swapped the crime of King’s Cross for the beauty of Norfolk more than a decade ago after two major operations that forced her to leave the force.

After learning to paint - “to keep my sanity during that time” - she has developed into an artist whose oils are in constant demand with prices for her works, largely landscapes, soaring more than 30pc in the last 18 months.

Linda, whose police officer husband Paul has also now retired, has been working on her En Plein Air (outdoor painting) festival for more than a year.

The artists, who will all be staying at Clippesby Hall holiday park, near Acle, will be entertained to an acrylic demonstration by Lincolnshire artist Mo Teeuw on the first evening, Thursday September 25; there will be a further demonstration by artist Haidee-Jo Summers on the Friday evening.

On the Friday and Saturday, they will be taken to a choice of Broads venues to paint while on the Sunday they will take part in a Quick Draw event in Norwich where they will have to complete their work in a two hour session.

The festival will culminate with an exhibition of work at The Boathouse, Ormesby, on the Monday evening.

There will be four main prizes, the top one - the Broad Skies Gallery prize- being £1,000 cash.

There will be day tickets available for local artists to take part in each day’s activities.

Linda, who has run her gallery for three years, said: “I will be taking in a range of venues, including some on the southern Broads, I hope.”

As a member of the Broads Tourism executive committee, she sees her event as fitting in with its strategy of trying to extend the season.

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