Well-known Norfolk artist Keith Johnson dies aged 87
PUBLISHED: 16:51 06 January 2019 | UPDATED: 17:33 06 January 2019
Tributes have been paid to a well-known Norfolk artist who was inspired by East Anglia’s countryside and coast.
Keith Johnson, who lived in Sprowston, died last month at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital aged 87.
Mr Johnson was born in South Pickenham, near Swaffham, in 1931. Living in the countryside, including Tottenhill and Hindolveston, his love of his surroundings blossomed and could be seen throughout his artwork.
Growing up, the Norwich City supporter went to Fakenham Grammar School before attending the Norwich School of Art in 1946 where he specialised in fabric design.
While studying in Norwich he began enjoying works by Noel Spencer, Leslie Davenport, Leslie Moore, Tom Griffiths and Geoffrey Wales, many of whom taught the young artist.
Mr Johnson then moved to the Liverpool School of Art where he took part in teacher training but also began experimenting with various printing methods.
But his love of Norfolk never left him, returning to the Norwich School of Art to study in life classes and portrait painting. This is when he met his devoted wife of 58 years, Pauline, who he married in Aylsham.
Vivian Smith, Mr Johnson’s sister, said: Keith never forgot his roots. He enjoyed living on a farm, barns were the subject of many of his early paintings.
“He was endeared to the Norfolk countryside and inspired by coastal scenes.”
In 1951 he headed to the coast to lecture in fabric design at the Lowestoft Art School.
In the 1970s he once again returned to Norwich were he began exhibiting his work within the Norfolk and Norwich Art Circle.
This was when his artwork turned to concentrate on watercolours and he had pieces displayed in London with the Royal Institute of Watercolour Painters.
Ms Smith added: “Keith took an active interest in sport, he played cricket and football for all his grammar school teams. Later he played football in the local amateur leagues and played squash well into his 80s.”
He had a close association with both The Assembly House and Tudor Galleries, selling many pieces through them.
Mr Johnson and Mrs Johnson ran a greetings card and print business for 10 years, making reproductions of Mr Johnson’s work.
He continued to work with oils and watercolours, with pieces hung in Royal Academy Summer Exhibitions and the New English Art Club.
Mr Johnson’s funeral will be held at 11.45am on January 11 at St Faith’s Crematorium.
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