© Lowestoft Art Group
Born in Oulton Broad in 1935, my early school years were spent as an evacuee in Derbyshire and Norfolk. After the war, my schooling continued in Lowestoft. Nobody in my family, historically or currently, have or has had an interest in art or painting. I only came upon it when searching for a hobby and saw that an art club was being formed at Oulton Broad. I joined in 1976 and have been a member ever since, joining Lowestoft Art Group in about 1980. Watercolour was my chosen medium and I spent many a happy hour painting ‘en plein air’ with my friends Douglas Hosea and Harold Cushing.
I have no favourite artists, but I find watercolourists of any kind, appealing. Some of those I admire are members of the club. My only advice to beginners today, if they want to paint landscape, is to get out in the country and sketch and paint. Learn your colours and how to mix them. There is no other way to capture the atmosphere in a painting and enjoy perfect relaxation at the same time.
These days, I admit, I paint mainly at home but the experience gained in the company of many good friends has given me the experience to do so reasonably successfully. I run a small class in Oulton Broad and Exhibit my work frequently.
Donald Arthur Rose was bom in Essex Road, Lowestoft in 1925, the only boy in a family which included three sisters and mother and father. Father was a fisherman, one of those hardy breed of men who went to sea in all weathers to bring back their catches to the port of Lowestoft.
Mother. Donny recalls fondly, was the eldest girl in a family of fourteen children who, when her mother died, was left to bring up the remaining family. An awful burden to place on a young woman's shoulders but borne, as was the way in those days. with strength and determination.
One of Donny's earliest recollections was of the days his grandfather would take him down to Newsons Meadow, which was at that time open pasture, to ride on the back of a Suffolk Punch.
Donny was so tiny that his little legs couldn't straddle the huge back of this giant
horse and so grandfather sat him astride the neck where he could hold on to the mane.
Educated at Roman Hill School in Lowestoft, Donny left at the age of fourteen to pursue his career as a bricklayer. Apart from a period of service in the army, he carried on in the building trade until the age of forty when he joined A.K.Desiels, an engineering company at Lowestoft where he remained until his retirement in 1990.
For much of his painting life, Donny had been a friend of the late Norman Harper, another fine amateur artist, and together they attended Regent Road Art Centre in Lowestoft to study life painting and hone their drawing skills.
Over many years Donny has given demonstrations to local clubs and organisations where his speed of painting quickly produced atmospheric and appealing pictures. There are some who enjoy this stage of his painting before he went on to put in the "final touches" as he called them.
After his retirement, Donny spent the summer months in the company of Norman Harper, Derek Plant, who specialises in marine painting, Kevin Thompson, a professional artist, Douglas Hosea and Douglas Urquhart. They often went on weekly sketching outings around East Anglia.
Observation is paramount in the armoury of any painter whether amateur or professional and Donny regreted the heavy reliance on camera images by painters these days. Whilst acknowledging that time is of the essence and that we all seem to have less time to "waste", he still felt that observing and drawing a subject carefully gave us an invaluable and lasting knowledge. The camera on the other hand can only view the subject and record it in a fraction of a second, and the subtleties and nuances of light and shade are not fully recorded. Photographic colour also depends on the chemical formula provided by the film manufacturers. Of course this is a personal view shared by many traditional artists, but times and methods change and many beautiful paintings are produced by artists of the modern era.
Donny, as he was known to his friends, exhibited his work regularly at the annual exhibitions of Lowestoft Art Group, Oulton Broad Art Circle and Beccles Society of Artists, where his work was sought after by avid collectors.
When Dutch elm disease decimated the beautiful elm trees throughout Britain, Donny had to rely almost totally on his sketches and drawings of these fine old trees to include them in his paintings.
Although Donny painted in several different mediums he would admit that oils were his favourite, giving him wide scope to express the atmosphere and subdued colour of rural scenes for which he has become renowned. His friends chided him good-
( Unfortunately Donny died in 2006, but his work lives on)
(Official full name Charles Rowland Abbott). I was born 13.11.1938 and educated at Bungay Grammar School. I did 2 years National Service in the R.A.F before going to Borough Road Training College for teacher training.
I had no formal Art training but did do a subsidiary Art Course under tuition of a lovely Welshman, Bert Isaacs, who taught me to "see" but avoided teaching techniques. On leaving College I taught for three years in a large Comprehensive School at Hinchley Wood before moving to Lowestoft where I taught English at Alderman Woodrow School which then became Kirkley High School. In 1977 I was appointed Head of Year 11, a post I retained until retiring in December, 1998.
I did not do any Art, except for scribbling on scraps of paper at Staff and Departmental meetings, until I joined Lowestoft Art Group in September, 1989. Inspired to try to paint by the likes of Donnie Rose, Wilf Sutton, Dougie Hosea, Derek Plant, and Norman Harper, for the next sixteen years I had various posts within the group -
Largely self taught, I enjoy watercolour but want to branch out to use other media. I have dabbled with pastels and some mixed media. Watercolour is a great delight because it has a life of its own and it is a challenge to try to learn to use that through a mixture of control and letting it have its head. It is important to see what is happening on the paper and make sure, if you can, that you do not put your brush into a lovely, fresh piece of painting thereby spoiling something special that you had. The last painting is only the stepping stone to the next. I will never stop learning. If I think I have made it, then I have failed. Favourite subjects are flowers, people, water, boats and landscapes which frequently involve me in zooming in on the microcosm before me. Rough sketches are essential to back up photographic material especially if I wish to achieve a proper sense of scale and proportion.
I also belong to Oulton Broad Art Circle and find it stimulating to come into contact with other artists at Club nights and Exhibitions.
Wilf pictured here with Louise Clarke on his 92nd birthday
Norman was born in Scotland in 1918, the son of a serving soldier. After the war the family moved to Kent where Norman spent most of his school days. In 1931 another move brought them to Lowestoft. Although general studies at school lacked interest for Norman, he did however excel at sports, especially swimming, and of course, art.
Norman followed his father into the painting and decorating trade and remained a fine tradesman for the rest of his working life. His father was a good artist and signwriter and Norman inherited the artistic skills.
Norman loved to paint and took it very seriously, paying great attention to composition colour and tone. His favourite medium was oil, but he excelled at watercolour and acrylic painting. A member of Southwold Art Group, Lowestoft Art Group, Oulton Broad Art Circle and the Beccles Society of Artists, he won many trophies for his paintings. He studied life drawing at Lowestoft College of Art with old friends Wilf Sutton and Gordon Goodman.
For subject matter, Norman favoured the East Anglian landscape which he sketched and painted 'en plein air' with friends Derek Plant, Douglas Hosea, Don Rose, Kevin Thompson And Douglas Urquart. The Norwich School of Painters influenced Norman greatly and he adapted their colours of brown and ochres into his own paintings. Other painters whom he admired greatly were Sir Arnesby Brown, Sir Alfred Munnings and Edward Seago. Apart from landscape painting, Norman was skilled at flower painting, still life and portraiture.
Norman died at the age of 90, and will be sadly missed by all who knew this warm hearted and kindly man.
Norman can be seen on the right at an Exhibition of Lowestoft Art Group’s paintings at the Lowestoft Fish Fayre
Wilf was born in Lowestoft in 1917, the eldest son of a fishing skipper.
He went to school at Church Road School and left one week before his fourteenth birthday to take up an apprenticeship at the Eastern Coach Works in Lowestoft.
When at school he remembers having a drawing class on Friday afternoons. His teacher, more interested in sport than art, had three wooden objects: a spear, an oblong and a pyramid. These would be arranged in various architectural shapes and the class would draw them. Wilf found this totally boring. One day his teacher was ill and a stand-
In the second month of the 2nd world war, Wilf joined the R.A.F. where he stayed for 6 ½ years. He spent 3 ½ yrs. of this time in Palestine where he spent his spare time sketching caricatures. His inspiration was Tom Webster the sports artist.
Each day, whilst in the forces, he and his comrades had to check the notice board. One particular morning there was a notice on it asking anyone interested in doing a Commercial Art course to contact the Education Officer, (a Flight Lieutenant). Materials, although basic, would be supplied, so he signed up.
The course was at RAF West Raynham in Norfolk. He studied oils, watercolours and latterly acrylics. After the war he had to complete his ten year apprenticeship at the coach works but he continued with his studies.
In the 1950s he became involved in doing hundreds of cartoons for the works magazine. Here he met Peter Lee who also worked at the coach works and who had studied History of Art before the war. Peter often did the cover for the magazine and Wilf learnt a lot from him, finishing on the magazine in 1970. In 1960 they started the Lowestoft Art Group (see the History Page). To this day, he absolutely loves cartoons and has demonstrated his skill to the Group.
He then had a contract with Hughes in Lowestoft to provide six paintings – cartoons and he also sent some away. Punch Magazine accepted one and he was extremely pleased to have it published at the age of 28 – 29 yrs. From then on life has been all about art and he is very grateful for it.
Trying to juggle work, a family and his studies he eventually gave up his Commercial Art course. However, he continued painting especially ‘en plein air’ with Donny, Norman, Gordon, Peter and Derek. He studied life-
In 1999 he won an award for the best painting in the Joint Services Command Art Exhibition at the Staff College at Bracknell.
Wilf has had a number of Exhibitions. In the 50s he had one with Peter Lee but this was relatively unsuccessful owing to the financial climate of the country. However, he says, he learnt a lot from it. He had a very successful Exhibition in London at the Amateur International Exhibition and has had further Exhibitions in East Anglia. His last exhibition was at the Ferini Gallery in Lowestoft in 2005 where he had 120 of his works on display. It was extremely successful.
(Wilf died in 2012. His work continues to be appreciated nationally} Sally Walker
I was born in Pakefield, Lowestoft but was evacuated to the country at 6 years old. Returning to Lowestoft after the war my drawing ability coincided with the love of the harbour, fishing fleets and marine activity.
My interest in oil painting began in my early 30s when my wife, calling my bluff, bought me oil paints and brushes as a present.
My trade as a boatbuilder, National Service in R.A.S.C. Water transport and 10 years as coswain on the local Trinity House pilot boat has had a big influence on my chosen subject of Marine Art. I also like to paint Landscape and Urban scenes.
I prefer to paint from nature and use everyday experience as a source of information, this applies to my oil painting and my Pen and Ink watercolours. Now being retired, I have my own small sailing cruiser which gives me access to the sea and the Broads, providing extensive scope for subject matter.
Whilst demonstrating, Derek has a wealth of stories to tell of his days on the boatyards and the days out sketching with his friends. All this makes for a very entertaining evening. He has featured in the Lowestoft Journal many times.
I was born in Oulton Broad and have always loved the area. It was my aim in life to be a good craftsman. As it was the early years of WW2, I went to work at a boatbuilders. I worked with some marvellous characters, who seemed to be moulded by there craft.
From here, I was called into the Royal Navy and became a Petty Officer shipwright.
On leaving the Navy I went to a small coachbuilding firm and then on to the Eastern Coachworks in Lowestoft, ending my last 25 working years in the Experimental Department and retiring at the age of 61 years.
In my early years, my forties, I felt that I needed a new interest and although I had no natural flair for drawing, I decided to spend some time, most evenings, attempting to draw some simple objects. Surprised by my progress, my wife bought me some watercolour paints, a medium we both loved.
Gordon at work at his home.
In 1973 I joined the Lowestoft Art Group and the Southwold Art Circle, where I met some wonderful people. I especially owe much to Wilf Sutton, Norman Harper, Donny Rose and Ken Whaley for their continued help, advice and criticism.
Then for 8 years I attended evening classes at the Lowestoft Art College.
Throughout this time I painted outside. I have over 700 A3 drawings and hundreds of photographs which adds to the adventure of painting.
On retirement I held two one man exhibitions, one at the Assembly Rooms in Norwich and the other at the Buckingham Gallery in Southwold. I also exhibited with the local art groups.
At this time watercolours were becoming popular in society and I met with a certain amount of success. I am surprised by the amount of paintings sold, but there were also all the paintings that never qualified for framing. For the paintings that satisfied me, I would cut and ‘line and wash’ the mount. I would buy the frame rim, glass and back and assemble it. Presentation was very important
During my time in the Group, I contributed to work evenings, demonstrations, and crits. I had several years on the Committee and helped in the hanging of numerous exhibitions. I became chairman and am now an honorary member. I think the future of the Group should continue to develop the art and skills of its members. I have always enjoyed the help we give each other with discussions and demos.
To me, this has been a marvellous journey. One gets the excitement of the scene, the experience of painting it and then someone who is prepared to buy it. I only hope, in all that I have done, there is that something called Art, that has brought an element of pleasure to all those who own and view my pictures.
It would have been impossible to achieve all this without the love, help and encouragement of my family, especially the patience of my loving wife. I have been a very lucky man.
I think I achieved my aim to become a good craftsman, but people have often asked me “ARE YOU AN ARTIST?”
Sadly Gordon passed away in August 2014. We shall all miss him.
I have been in Lowestoft Art Group since 1959 attending the inaugaral meeting at the Hatfield Hotel. I trained at Lowestoft Art School in display and design. I then worked in commecial art for ten years winning several prizes for display.
I later took up fine art and studied with Jeffrey Camp and Cedric Morris. I have had several local exhibitions and have also exhibited in Norwich. Some of my paintings are in private collections in London, New Zealand and Australia.
After passing a City and Guillds adult trainer award course I started to freelance, teaching calligraphy and painting workshops.
Peter designed the Lowestoft Art Group Logo.
I like painting pictures, I`m just the same as you,
But lots of times I just don`t know exactly what to do.
I sit there with my paper, paints and brushes all displayed
But the scene I thought looked good last week, looks drab now,
I`ll turn around and see if it looks better over there
I know it won`t; by now my mind is filling with despair.
Perhaps I`ll sketch the hedge nearby, and a little garden gate
Sunshines promised later, and it`s not too long to wait.
So while I wait impatiently for the clouds to disappear,
My memory turns to those old friends whose names I hold so dear
The lovely times we shared on those balmy summer days
Their skills imparted selflessly in many different ways.
Dear old Harold Cushing`s watercolours wet and free
My old friend Dougie Hosea who was so much help to me
We shared so many happy days just painting in the sun
It was Harolds sense of humour that made it so much fun.
Aha! the sun is shining now and the shadows are more defined
The scene before me now transformed from the one I first declined.
I must get it on to paper quickly, starting with the sky
The spirits of my two old friends look down from way on high.
Use the biggest brush you`ve got, I hear old Harold say.
Let the water do the work, we haven`t got all day
Douglas says raw sienna will capture the light of the sun
Put some darks against the light and let the colours run
So between the three of us we`ve completed one more picture
Will it be good enough to hang and become a permanent fixture?
I`ll look at it later and perhaps decide if it deserves a frame,
Guiltily I fear, the picture is signed with just a single name.
THE FRUSTRATED PAINTER by David Balder
Did you ever look at pictures that hung upon the walls
With dusty, ornate gilded frames that grace the marbled halls
Of England's noblest families and England's royal line
The greatest painters of the past, now sadly in decline?
Why can't I paint like those great men of England's bygone days?
How long did Turner practise to portray that steamy haze?
Did Constable not sit for hours just looking at the clouds
Before he took his brushes up to paint those heavenly shrouds?
Perhaps then, I should settle down and wander England's fields
To wonder at the springtime greens and autumn's golden yields
The sparkling rivers passing by the overhanging trees
The dragonfly that hovers on the cooling summer breeze
Winter brings the cold north winds which turn our meadows white
The landscape now a nocturne of wondrous greys and light
At twilight now the sunset bathes the fields in rosy glow
Is anywhere as beautiful as England in the snow?
At last I have those lovely scenes, set deep within my mind
My colour, mixed with loving care, the canvas taut and primed
The brushes held with firm intent to paint that masterpiece
Intentions overridden by the doubts that never cease.
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