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The wild beauty of the Nor­folk coast, its marsh-beached boats, sun­rises re­flected across vast ex­panses of rip­pled wet sand, glow­er­ing seas rolling in af­ter a storm, and pur­ple-suf­fused dusk skies, are cap­tured in a re­mark­able new book by An­drew Dibben. RO

EDP Norfolk - - Inside -

Win a beau­ti­ful art book signed by the au­thor

LOOK INTO one of An­drew Dibben’s paint­ings and you can al­most hear the cries of the geese, and the lap of wa­ter on row­ing boats, feel the rough bark of posts ris­ing from the marshes, and the chill of dusk set­tling across sand.

An­drew’s work is pho­to­graphic in its de­tail, the pin­na­cles of a church tower, or spikes of river reeds, are sharp against the sky or wa­ter; each twig of a tree, feather on a bird, or flake of paint on an old boat or shed, is shown, and the sharp fo­cus ranges right across each glow­ing land­scape, in the same way the hu­man eye picks up both dis­tance and fore­ground, ac­tual and at­mos­phere.

An­drew has been paint­ing Nor­folk for decades. He works out­side in the land­scape he is paint­ing, and his lat­est book, Boats, Beaches and Barns of Nor­folk and Suf­folk, col­lects pic­tures from the past 12 years, cre­ated in some of his favourite places. “Among my favourites, I count the beach at Burn­ham Overy Staithe, which is so re­mote and vast. A sun­set here can be quite an ex­cit­ing, emo­tional ex­pe­ri­ence,” said An­drew. “I also love the places where one can see small work­ing boats, such as Sher­ing­ham, Bran­caster Staithe and King’s Lynn.

“The ar­chi­tec­ture along the seafront in Cromer is beau­ti­ful, and the prom­e­nade, beach and pier are won­der­ful places to stroll

on a sum­mer’s evening, just as the sun sets.”

An­drew, now 67, ar­rived in Nor­folk to study at the Nor­wich School of Art (Now Nor­wich Uni­ver­sity of the Arts) and has lived here ever since – apart from two years in Bec­cles. “But we could see Nor­folk from there – just across the river!” he said.

Last year he moved from Nor­wich to Gor­leston. “We now live in a house with an amaz­ing panoramic view of the river and the sea be­yond, and ev­ery day we see ships go by, or tie up just op­po­site our house!”

Be­fore be­com­ing a full-time painter 28 years ago, An­drew was a draughts­man and tech­ni­cal il­lus­tra­tor for Lo­tus Cars.

His first book of land­scape paint­ings had a fore­word by Norma Ma­jor, this lat­est col­lec­tion is in­tro­duced by Ed Balls, who talks of his child­hood hol­i­days in Sher­ing­ham and his con­tin­u­ing love of the north Nor­folk coast­line. He says: “The pieces are won­der­fully evoca­tive. It’s as though the artist has cap­tured my own mem­o­ries on his can­vas for my later re­flec­tion and en­joy­ment.”

And how did An­drew per­suade such po­lit­i­cal heavy­weights to rec­om­mend his books? “I just asked! Ed Balls replied in the af­fir­ma­tive, and was de­light­ful to deal with; a thor­oughly nice man. I wrote to him via Nor­wich City Foot­ball Club, as he is the chair­man. With my first book, Dame Norma Ma­jor was lovely; she and John came to see my ex­hi­bi­tion in Holt in 2004 (es­corted by plain-clothes po­lice), and ended up buy­ing five small paint­ings!”

An­drew is one of the founder mem­bers of the In­sti­tute of East Anglian Artists but said: “I have not painted in Nor­folk and Suf­folk alone, and in fact a Greek farm and a Span­ish fish­ing boat have also found their way into the pages of the new book!”

Along­side the vivid coastal views, he sum­mons heath­land at Kelling and Salt­house, and the clam­our of the Lynn fish­ing fleet and mod­ern deep-sea ves­sels in Yar­mouth.

This year An­drew plans to seek out more small wooden fish­ing boats along the coast, as well as paint­ing more mod­ern mar­itime scenes in Gor­leston and Yar­mouth.

Boats, beaches and barns of Nor­folk and Suf­folk, Wa­ter­colour Land­scapes by An­drew Dibben, is a large-for­mat hard­back, pub­lished by Wall Road Publishing, for £30.

Above: An­drew Dibben

Be­low: The Blue Dinghy, Bran­caster Staithe by An­drew Dibben

Above: Pink Cloud in the Pool, Overy Beach, by An­drew Dibben

Be­low: Cromer Sun­set by An­drew Dibben

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