Although less well-known than Constable with whom he is often compared, John Crome (1768-1821) was an influential landscape painter in his own right. In 1805, he co-founded the Norfolk School (along with other painters such as Charles Hodgson and Robert Dixon) which was the first art movement set up outside of London. Crome contributed 22 works to their first exhibition which was held in the same year as the movement’s foundation and went on to produce over 300 pieces of artwork (in both oils and watercolours) as well as a large body of etchings.
Like Constable, Cromewas interested in depicting the natural world and both painters were the first to paint recognisable species of trees native to the UK. A theme of nature as a background for leisure activities also runs through Crome’s works. A typical example is his ‘Boys Bathing on the River Wensum, Norwich’ which was painted in 1817.
Another element of Crome’s style is his ability to capture the wide open skies of his native Norfolk. This relatively unspoilt area of the UK, with its beaches, harbours and picturesque villages, makes it a popular destination for people who would like to start painting or improve their artistic skills. Despite its relative isolation, it has all the council services of more populated areas of the UK.
Prices can be quite reasonable for residential courses with world-class studio facilities, starting as low as £225 for a few days to nearly £600 for an all-inclusive package with accommodation. If it’s something that you’ve always wanted to do, or you wish to pursue art as a career, personal loans can be the ideal solution if you’re temporarily strapped for cash. An online application can be made easily through the lender’s website.
There are many different art schools based in Norfolk, but we’ve selected two of the most popular.
The Norfolk Painting School
Set up in 2007 by Martin Kinnear, the Norfolk Painting School concentrates on teaching painting with oils exclusively. The Beginners’ Oils course is for those with little experience; Simply Oils is aimed at artists who wish to switch from other media (like watercolours) to oil paints while the Intensive Oils course is for more experienced artists. The guiding principal of this school is to expose their students to the styles of both traditional and contemporary artists so that they can develop their own unique style.
Big Sky Art
Based in a renovated Georgian country house set in rolling farmland outside Burham Market, Big Sky Art offers all-inclusive 3- and 4-day residential courses taught by artists with an international reputation. Unlike the Norfolk Painting School, there are a range of different media used on different courses including watercolours, oils and pastels. If you’re interested in a specific medium and/or artist, you should see the school’s programme for more details. Many of the courses are set outside so that participants get the chance to capture the landscape and skies that inspired both Crome and Constable.