Wall to wall sunshine at 78 Derngate

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The good old British climate may be hit and miss when it comes to warmth, but there will be some guaranteed sunshine over the next two months within the walls of 78 Derngate in Northampton.

The venue, famed for being designed by the celebrated Charles Rennie Mackintosh, is currently playing host to a new exhibition entitled Spring Into Summer, staged by the local group Network Arts.

Although the odd snow scene (perhaps appropriate given the kind of spring weather we had until recently) has been included, other canvasses focus on sunnier vistas including seascapes and other subjects connected with the spring/summer season.

Co-ordinator Bill Pearson said: “Spring into summer was the general theme and there are 60 paintings on the wall and 22 in the browsing section.

“There are about 130 members of Network Arts ranging from amateurs to professional artists; we encourage anyone to join, even if they have no experience. As a group we try to help them forward.”

Colin Bywater earned a ‘highly commended’ award for his seascape entitled ‘Hauled Up,’ at Blakeney Point on the Norfolk coast. As an artist who likes to ‘paint on the spot’ rather than working from photographs, he found conditions on the day of this painting to be quite a challenge.

Colin, who lives in Fosters Booth and who also submitted the Norfolk coast painting Brancaster Beach, said: “They were painted on the spot, which I call plein air painting. There was a howling gale when I painted these, but I do like to paint on the spot.

“The thing about painting on the spot is that it makes you really look and capture the feel of a place. With a photo, people take the photo and move on.”

Winner of ‘Best in Show’ was Leora Pachecho from Wilby, who scooped the award for her rural painting, entitled Admiring the Harvest.

The scene, which shows a tree-lined pathway leading to hills, is an imagined landscape, although Leora feels sure it must exist somewhere.

She said: “I was amazed to win this, there was so much good work for them to chose from, the fact they selected mine was great. I like artwork which ‘takes you in,’ where there is atmosphere. To me, I wanted to be part of the picture and I wanted to say ‘be with me in it.’ The exhibition will run until June 30 and is free. Opening times are 10am-5pm, Tuesdays to Sundays. Network Arts holds monthly workshops at Moulton 
Sports Complex. See 
www.networkarts.co.uk