Photo gallery: Paintings show an aftermath of December’s storm surge

Marsh Colours, After the Flood, by John Hurst. Marsh Colours, After the Flood, by John Hurst.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014
11:26 AM

Paintings depicting the marshes at Salthouse in the aftermath of last December’s storm surges are featured in an exhibition at the Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s (NWT) Cley Visitor Centre by well-known north Norfolk artist John Hurst.

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Artist John Hurst sketching at Salthouse marshes. Photo: Karen BethellArtist John Hurst sketching at Salthouse marshes. Photo: Karen Bethell

The series of watercolours show the receding water, with remnants of reeds hanging from marsh wires beneath cloud-filled skies.

“Living in Salthouse, I saw the great impact the storms had on local people and when you see the landscape change so much in such a short time, it really is quite shocking,” Mr Hurst said. “But, in a way, what was such a tragedy for human beings and wildlife threw open a whole new set of possibilities for me as an artist.”

Other work on display as part of the exhibition ranges from the cliffs at Sheringham and a solitary boat at Blakeney Point, to Brent geese flying over Pope’s Marsh – a 143-acre swathe of land bought by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust (NWT) after a £1m appeal.

A keen birdwatcher, Mr Hurst has also included ornithological references, with paintings featuring a rare rough-legged buzzard recently spotted overwintering at Holkham and an alpine swift seen flying over Sheringham cliffs.

A long-time supporter of the NWT, Mr Hurst, whose previous work has ranged from a series of 50 paintings produced for the World Methodist Council, to a commission to paint the Sheringham Shoal windfarm by Scira Offshore Energy, has exhibited at Cley visitor centre every year since it opened in 2007, donating a percentage of sales towards the trust’s work.

Exhibitions at other Norfolk venues have raised cash for charities including Big C, Wells Maritime Trust and Glaven Caring, with Mr Hurst also donating original paintings and prints to a number of other local good causes.

Recent commissions have included a book of original watercolours for Birdbrook Hall, Essex, and a painting for Liam Botham, the son of long-standing patrons Sir Ian and Lady Katherine.

However, while his subject matter is wide-ranging, he is constantly drawn back to paint the area surrounding his home village of Salthouse where, he says, he counts his residence as a “privilege”.

Paintings by John Hurst are on show at Cley visitor centre until April 30. Opening times are 10am-4pm. Mr Hurst will also be exhibiting at the Norfolk Bird Fair, which runs at Mannington Hall on May 17 and 18, at Blakeney Methodist Church cafe, and, in his annual solo show, at St Nicholas church rooms, Blakeney, from May 24-31. To see more of his work, visit www.marshlandarts.co.uk

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