PUBLISHED: 09:17 19 May 2014 | UPDATED: 09:17 19 May 2014
Brian Lewis is one of Norfolk's most colourful artists. His flamboyant character, bright yellow studio in Sheringham and an unrelentingly cheerful take on Norfolk life make for a memorable combination.
You could be forgiven for thinking that his art career begins and ends with Lowryesque people, boatloads of seals and dogs chasing gulls across unblemished sand. In reality, he is an accomplished artist who refuses to take himself too seriously.
His work, as familiar in Norfolk as the scenes he paints, has hidden depths. A careful look at even the most frivolous picture will surprise thanks to the detail included and the accuracy of his buildings, boats, beaches or birds. Author Alan Marshall and fledgling Norfolk publisher Mascot Media, tucked away in the Broads, recognised the potential appeal of a book that brings together a large selection of Brian’s work and verbal snapshots of his colourful life. Blue Skies and Boat Trips is the result.
Since making Norfolk his home in 1981, the county has dominated the artist’s output. Early efforts married his serious art credentials and techniques with Norfolk scenes, and drove this prize-winning graduate of The Royal Academy towards a more optimistic colour palette. Wells beach huts proved much more popular as his skies changed from grey to blue, and his characters became humorous, rather than sad.
The “overnight success” of his technicolour scenes of seals, boats, beaches and iconic buildings took years to achieve, but he hasn’t looked back. The creation of his studio/home at Bees Hall in Sheringham and a raft of ever-cheerful paintings have resulted in lasting popularity.
Conceived, written, designed and even printed in Norfolk, Blue Skies and Boat Trips captures the coast from Cromer to King’s Lynn, as well as featuring Brian’s unique take on life in Norwich, Holt, Fakenham and Letheringsett.
The book, which contains 165 images, will be available from early April from the publisher, artist and selected stores around the county.
Blue Skies and Boat Trips: The Norfolk of Brian Lewis (Mascot Media, £22.50)
www.mascotmedia.co.uk and Brian Lewis’ website: www.art-e-mail.com