Norwich artist’s oil paintings invite you to stand and stare at nature’s landscapes
- Credit: Archant
From the big skies of Norfolk to the mountains of the Scottish Highlands, dramatic landscapes near and far inspire the work of artist Garry Pereira. Arts correspondent Emma Knights finds out more.
Artist Garry Pereira's Norwich studio is currently crammed full of canvases large and small, all filled with wonderful scenes that transport viewers everywhere from the Norfolk coast to North Wales.
He is busily preparing for his latest exhibition which will be in London later this month and which he has called Stand and Stare, a title encouraging people to spend more time appreciating the beauty of natural landscapes.
'It's to do with people not having the time to slow down and look at the landscape, and being too busy on their mobile phones,' he explained.
'I purposely leave my phone behind when I'm painting. When you are painting it is almost hypnotic, and if your phone starts ringing it disturbs your concentration.'
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Mr Pereira's passion for the scenes that inspire his paintings is clear, both in the strokes of his paintbrushes on his canvases and also how he talks about the landscapes.
His latest London exhibition at the Osborne Studio Gallery will feature 70 of his works from Norfolk and further afield, and people can also see some of his other paintings at Mandell's Gallery, in Norwich's Elm Hill, where he regularly exhibits.
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Originally from London, 41-year-old Mr Pereira came to Norwich about 25 years ago to study an MA in painting at the then Norwich School of Art and Design, and he said he loved the county's landscapes so much he never left.
'I've stayed here ever since. I love the Norfolk landscape. I love the coastline of Norfolk and the space. A lot of the time I paint the waves at Blakeney. I also like painting the sea at Aldeburgh and Southwold in Suffolk. I like it because it's incredibly flat. If you go to Cornwall it [the sea] is full of rocks and things, but here it is very flat and there is lots of space and big skies.'
As well as painting the sea he also incorporates the sea water into some of his work by mixing it with his paints to create effects.
'It means much more than mixing in a chemical into the paint. It is kind of of the place,' he said, adding that he makes all his paints himself.
'By grinding the pigment up with a pestle and mortar and adding various oils it gives you more control over the paint, the texture and the colour.'
As well as capturing the waves on canvas, Mr Pereira also likes to paint Norfolk's fields and woodlands, with areas around Holkham, Mousehold Heath in Norwich, Reepham, Bintree and Foxley Wood among his favourite locations.
But it is not just Norfolk and Suffolk that has captivated his artist's eyes - he also makes regular trips to remote places in the Sottish Highlands, North Wales and the north of Ireland. When asked which of the landscapes he preferred, he said: 'I love them all equally. It is the extremes. You go to the north of Scotland and it's really mountainous, and then you drive back and as you get to Lincoln it becomes flat but equally dramatic. It's the contrast I like.'
Alongside contrasts in settings, Mr Pereira also works in contrasts of size, ranging from huge canvases to tiny, intricate masterpieces that are just 12cm by 12cm in size.
'I make the small ones on location and bring them back to make the larger paintings,' explained Mr Pereira, whose studio is near Oak Street in Norwich.
And while each of his works is inspired by a specific place he is also keen for them to have a universal feel too and be open to the interpretation of the viewer, with many of his paintings having ambiguous titles.
His new London show is the latest in a long line of exhibitions that have seen him take scenes of Norfolk and other parts of the UK and Ireland around the world.
'I have been really lucky,' he said.
'I have shown work all over, Singapore, Dubai, Hong Kong, America, Canada.'
• His exhibition Stand and Stare is at the Osborne Studio Gallery, in Motcomb Street, Belgravia, London from October 17 until November 2. Free admission. For more, visit www.osg.uk.com
• Mr Pereira regularly has work on show at Mandell's Gallery, in Norwich's Elm Hill.
• Mr Pereira holds art workshops in Norwich Castle's galleries once a month. Places should be booked in advance as the workshops are quickly booked up. For more information, call 01603 493625 and 01603 495897.