Monthly Archives: June 2014

INSPIRED BY BECKER : an exhibition of contemporary work by East Anglian artists

Lyrical, unpretentious and free…” is just one of the many ardent remarks about the work of Harry Becker made by the group of artists who contribute to “INSPIRED BY BECKER”, an exhibition of contemporary work by East Anglian artists who love his work.

Becker, an artist trained in the best schools in Europe, moved from London to live in Suffolk early last century, and spent around 10 years in Wenhaston, a village 5 miles inland from Southwold. His work concentrated on the people and animals associated with agricultural life and, as Andrew Pitt, one of the IBB group describes, it is a “powerful testimony to the value of painting from direct observation. The forceful honesty of his marks and the gestures of his brush combine to make his work compelling and lively”. Andrew himself always paints en plein air.


Mari French, Arable field, late Spring

Mari French, another IBB artist is inspired by Becker’s “evocation of light and the lively brushwork in his landscapes“. “Arable field, late Spring” worked in acrylic on paper demonstrates her own mastery of these qualities.


Liz James, The Tempest

And in “The Tempest”, Liz James conveys the threatening weight of an approaching storm.


Mary Gundry, The end of a good day

Some of the IBB group contribute figurative work to the show, work that relates directly and obviously to that of Becker, as in Mary Gundry’s oil: “The end of a good day”.


Mike Holtom, Meteorology 2

Others respond in a less direct way, reflecting qualities such as fluidity, moments in time captured, atmosphere, an economy of means. Mike Holtom’s “Meteorology 2”, Kerry Holmes’ “Another windy day” and Joy Wilson’s “Fields” offer examples of the artist’s response to these more emotional levels.


Kerry Holmes, Another windy day


Joy Wilson, Fields

If only there was room to offer a glimpse of everyone of the 28 exhibitor’s work! Suffice to say that visiting the show is a joyful experience. Work made out of love and respect for another artist’s contribution, and indeed to celebrate and honour that oeuvre, cannot fail to give pleasure.

Held over only one weekend, and situated purposely in the village, in St Peter’s, the church that Becker would have known, the show is professionally hung and beautifully presented in a space that already houses a significant and special mediaeval art work: The Wenhaston Doom.

Not only is the love for a master’s work tangible within this show, but also we raise funds to help the parish church of Halesworth, St Mary’s make their lottery bid for a massive regeneration so that the space is available to a wide range of community groups, as well as for worship.


So please, make a note in your diary, and let others know: August 9th and 10th; 10am until 5pm and 10am until 4pm respectively; INSPIRED BY BECKER: an exhibition of Contemporary work by East Anglian artists.

INSPIRED BY BECKER: an exhibition of Contemporary work by East Anglian artists

August 9th and 10th 2014

St Peter’s Church
Nr Halesworth
IP19 9BJ

Open Saturday 10am-5pm and Sunday 10am-4pm.

All work is for sale. Card payments available, refreshments and free parking. For more information please contact Ruth McCabe at:

Valerie Armstrong : new creative beginnings in France

Today’s blog post comes courtesy of Artworks artist Valerie Armstrong, whose art is now taking a bold new direction after inheriting an idyllic house in southern France:

It all began in Spring, mixed media on paper

It all began in Spring ©Valerie Armstrong

Two years ago I inherited a house with a large studio in the mountains of the Alpes Maritimes in the south of France. It was hard won and the complicated French legal system meant I spent much of last year struggling to keep the house. Now however, my family and I are finally able to enjoy it, my husband and myself will work there for the summer. As a result my work is changing to larger scale abstracts in acrylic paint and mixed media.


The Light of Morning ©Valerie Armstrong

In France I work in a beautiful studio overlooking a medieval village and the mountains. I am surrounded by exuberant and colourful canvasses painted by my French relatives. The light is soft and the air pure; it is an inspiring place!


Alchemy ©Valerie Armstrong

I love to draw and have always expressed myself in a figurative or semi-figurative way. Now, perhaps because of France, I feel the need to let go of my old, comfortable ways of working and move into a less familiar, more abstract space. I need to push myself further to explore those dark, shadowy places lurking in the subconscious.


The Wisdom of Experience ©Valerie Armstrong

In my new work – on canvas and on paper – I build up with layers of translucent textures, forms and colour, using many applications of pigment and glaze. I add mixed media and collage, then scrape back and rebuild so that veiled layers and images applied in the process finally reappear in the finished piece as ghostly suggestions.