Interview with the Norwich 20 Group

Delighted to have been invited to have an online interview with Frances Martin the secretary of the Norwich 20 Group. This went out in June 20 in their monthly newsletter.
I know that you have a studio at your home, and I'm guessing that it is a
welcome sanctuary at this time. I wondered if you have some advice
to anyone who cannot use their studio space, how to make a place for
Yes having a studio at the top of my garden is something I’ve been thankful
for, especially during the lock-down. When I lived in Norwich I rented an attic
studio which leaked just off Duke Street! But I’ve not always had a studio and
painted for many years on the kitchen table working on large one metre
canvases. I had a selection of art materials on a trolley that I could wheel into
a corner and some sheeting on the floor, however, it was hard work especially
with three children and having to put everything away to cook. So I can really
relate to those artists having to manage with a home studio during the

2. How do you motivate yourself, or find inspiration?
It’s been hard, as my inspiration comes from sketching the North Norfolk coast and
with COVID-19 I can’t visit all the beaches I love as some are still closed. Also with
so many exhibitions and events being cancelled one feels like saying ‘What’s the
point of making art or creating anything?’ There’s a podcast I can recommend called
‘Art Juice’ by two artists called Alice Sheridan and Louise Fletcher on episode 69
they discuss this almost guilty feeling about creating any art. Artists are usually
sensitive to the world around them and the journey can feel uphill and dry at times
then there’s a time of awakening, spring arrives with fresh colours to explore, finding
the beauty in nature never ends.

3. Have you found anything has changed recently with your practice?
Yes, I’m making smaller affordable work and selling them through the Artist
Support Pledge on Instagram. The pledge was set up by artist Matthew
Burrows. Matthew says ‘Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many artists have
found themselves without work, teaching, technical support, gallery work,
exhibitions and sales have disappeared. In an attempt to help alleviate some
of this I instigated the #artistsupportpledge.’ The concept is a simple one. You
post images of your work to sell for no more than £200 each (not including
shipping.) Anyone can then buy the work. Every time you reach £1000 of
sales you pledge to buy another artist/s work for up to £200’. This initiative
has been such a financial support to lots of artists and makers.

4. Your work is very much rooted in place, within our county of Norfolk. Could
you say a bit about your connection to the landscape?
I grew up here and feel rooted in North Norfolk, to know a place one needs to
explore it. The coast holds many special memories. I love walking and
sketching at Morston and Stiffkey and taking students out to sketch and paint
at Burnham Overy Staithe. I love the salty scent of the sea air, the muddy
creeks and the skies. My work is mainly about exploring the thin layers

between heaven and earth. It’s a spiritual journey, one of art and faith and a
consistent moving forward which is exciting.

5. Who has been the biggest influence on your work?
I couldn’t name just one as it’s an eclectic mix of many influences.
Artists such as Peter Lanyon, Kurt Jackson, Sonia Delaunay, Turner, Barbara
Rae and several artists in the Norwich 20 Group are to name a few. Sparks
come from seeing how other artist’s work, seeing their struggles. As we can’t
meet as a group, other influences come from watching artists paint and
discuss their concepts on YouTube. Another way I’ve felt inspired during the
lockdown, is by flexing my creative muscles through reading art books and
enjoying the televised painting and drawing shows and virtual exhibitions. I
really enjoyed visiting the Bonnard at the Tate last year, it was so colourful
and vibrant.
Thank you Frances for inviting me to take part in this interview.