"Domestic architecture" of north Norfolk coast captured on canvas in latest exhibition by Norfolk artist Brian Lewis
PUBLISHED: 18:35 16 April 2018 | UPDATED: 18:57 16 April 2018
When well-known Norfolk artist Brian Lewis saw a new arts and heritage centre taking shape at Wells-next-the-Sea, he came up with the idea of not only capturing the project on canvas, but, in a departure from his signature sunny, seaside pictures, painting a whole series of Wells buildings.
The pictures, which will go on show next month as part of Mr Lewis’s latest open studio exhibition, show the finishing touches being added to the £4.5 million extension to the town’s historic Maltings – where he worked as assistant stage manager nearly 40 years ago - as well as Georgian houses in the leafy Buttlands area of the town.
Fans of Mr Lewis can also spot local characters walking their dogs, and George the seagull, who has been a feature of almost all the artist’s paintings since the late 1980s.
“George was an injured bird we picked up on the road near Wells,” he explained. “He couldn’t fly, but he liked to sit on the back of the sofa and watch television.”
Other pictures featured in the exhibition will include instantly recognisable Norfolk landmarks, as well as ‘Marny’s Woodyard’, a painting of a house in Esher, Surrey, which Mr Lewis completed as a thirteen-year-old aspiring artist.
“I have always loved painting houses,” he explained. “But, although I’ve have done places like Blickling Hall and Keeble College, Oxford, I’ve got to an age where I can indulge myself a bit and paint what I fancy painting, so these latest Wells ones are more about domestic architecture.”
Mr Lewis, who, aged 16, completed a foundation course at Epsom School of Art before spending three years training at Guildford Art School and a further three years at the Royal Academy, moved to Hindringham in 1981 and bought his current home-cum-studio, the quirky, bright yellow Bee’s Hall, in Sheringham, 22 years ago.
His work, depicting East Anglian scenes ranging from boats at Brancaster and Fakenham race track, to his famous Blakeney seals, has since become highly sought after, with originals fetching up to £15,000.
“I have got a big catalogue of Norfolk scenes and although I probably will go back to painting seals, it is nice to be doing something different - and I really love painting bricks,” he said.
Brian Lewis’s open studio runs at Bees Hall, The Avenue South, Sheringham from May 5-13. Opening times are 10.30am-5.30pm daily. For more information, visit www.art-e-mail.com