Graffiti Artists and defacing

280817 - Graffiti_3Not the usual kind! This graffiti is found scratched on the back of choir stalls in the church of St. Nicholas in Salthouse on the Norfolk coast. No doubt these were drawn during particularly long and onerous sermons defacing what was once smoothly painted woodwork.

Although there is the usual rash of dated initials, some spectacularly from the early 1600’s, the graffiti mainly consists of masted sailing ships, some complete with flags, anchors and rigging. These must hail back to 280817 - Graffiti_1the days when Salthouse was a port and these ships were a regular sight for the choristers to get their inspiration from.

It is amazing that these etched doodles have survived the centuries, withstanding any erroneous, but well meaning, person redecorating, sanding down, and painting over these drawings so that they would be lost to eternity.

The scratched lines of the ships somehow remind me of the skeletal remains of boats and 280817 - Graffiti_2ships you find on Britain’s shorelines and estuaries. Entrenched in the sand and mudflats you see the ribs poking up forlornly to the skies. They are both reminders of the times when these vessels would be out on the open waves. Outlines of something that once was.

I get the feeling that one of my favourite artists, Alfred Wallis, would have loved these images, and I think he would have been entirely at home, if he was amongst these choristers creating this graffiti art.

280817 - Defacing_1Defacing of a different and more literal kind is also evident in the wooden screens of this church, now moved to a more prominent position. Reformation sackers have been here, and literally de-faced, and more besides, the figures of the saints that once adorned these screens. But I like them as they are, wearing the mantles of the historic past in full splendour, and giving you pause for thought at what has been enacted in this church in the past. As Picasso once said, “Every act of creation, is first an act of destruction.”

280817 - Defacing_2

Exhibition – Ruth Brumby, Salthouse, Norfolk

280817 - R_Brumby - Bowls

Ruth Brumby – Nest of Bowls

Whilst on a walk in Norfolk, we came  across the church of St Nicholas in Salthouse, and entered into the world of Ruth Brumby who is holding an exhibition there until 10 September 2017.

The pieces on display were works in papier-mâché, with Ruth working hard with the medium right at the early pulp stages and then allowing them to dry into exquisite objects such as the bowls on the left. There was also a group of three large papier-mâché flints at the entrance which were so realistic that I had to query how Ruth managed to lift them into the church – with one hand I was told!



The Exhibition title was “Leylines, Plumblines, and Strandlines” with the artworks, which were mainly square wall-hangings reflecting the natural forces of Gravity, Tides (appropriate with papier-mâché, I think), the pull of the Magnetic North and ultimately erosion. The pictures above are from a work called “Cracked Text” with a detail on the right. In the process of making this Ruth destroyed old school text books from her previous existence as a school head teacher, showing the change in her career as she re-builds her life albeit with the past literally embedded into the artworks.

The work above, again with a detail on the right, is simply called “Rust.” As the paper pulp has been re-generated into art to find a new existence, this art-piece depicts the decline and erosion of metal as it slowly de-generates back into iron oxide. It is interesting to think that water, that life-giving liquid, is involved in both.

I hope you can make it to the exhibition and enjoy the textures of this tactile art, although alas – time is against you. Perhaps that is what the exhibition is ultimately about; the erosion of time. Enjoy whilst you still can!

How Now! West Raynham and Houghton Hall.

280817 - West Raynham from St Margaret's church - Large


We have just spent a few wonderful days staying in West Raynham in Norfolk courtesy of Janet and David.

The weather was very warm allowing us to get out and about a bit subject to avoiding the bank holiday traffic.

I came away with lots of thoughts and ideas for future artworks – so watch the next few blogs to see what happens!

280817 - Gravestones at St Margaret's, West Raynham - Large

Above is a sketch I did of some gravestones in the overgrown churchyard of the ruined St. Margaret’s at West Raynham. They look keen to get out and join the cattle in the meadow beyond. I wish I’d had a white pencil, or Conté crayon to depict the long grass catching the sunlight in the foreground.

270817 - Houghton Hall collage - lge


Very pleased to discover Houghton Hall was home to an impressive exhibition of works by Richard Long. Largely in the grounds and gardens, but also in the hall itself. This runs until 26th October 2017. Go see it! The collage shows:

A Line in Norfolk.


Full Moon Circle.