Eloise O'Hare - A Norfolk Original

A new exhibition of watercolours at The Gallery Norfolk, Cromer.
July 16th - August 6th

The lively, colourful, witty work of painter and illustrator Eloise O’Hare – Norfolk-born and now Norwich-based, though she grew up in Dublin and has travelled the world extensively – has become a great favourite with visitors to The Gallery Norfolk in Cromer.

 She is now being honoured with her own exhibition at the gallery, to run from 16th July to 6th August. It will feature newly-painted pen and watercolour pictures of her favourite Norfolk coastal towns and villages, such as Wells-next-the-Sea, Blakeney, Wiveton, Cley, Sheringham, Mundesley and, of course, Cromer.  There will be sweeping views of waterfronts, harbours and beaches, but Eloise will also show her eye for detail … quaint side streets, fascinating architectural features, beach huts, postboxes and doorways framed by trailing flowers. The pictures will range widely in both size and price (£95 - £395), offering plentiful opportunity for acquiring an original painting by one of Norfolk’s most distinctive artists.

 Combining exhilarating spontaneity, expressed in surging washes of watercolour, with a draughtsman’s elegance in her expert use of pen and ink, Eloise creates paintings that are both joyous and thoughtful. She sees her work in musical terms, describing herself as an orchestrator and conductor and hoping that the birds she depicts “almost sing across the page.”

 Here are her evocative thoughts on some of the paintings in the exhibition:

 Seals at Morston

 “The only seals I have seen are the ones that pop up to say hello when I am swimming in the sea at Cromer. To get a closer view of them I took a boat trip out along the coast at Morston. When not slipping in and out of the sea, the seals lay basking in the sun on the marsh sand dunes. The ink in my pen captured all their different characters while the watercolour captured caught the tones and colours of their amazing skin.”

 Cromer beach

“Painting Cromer from the East Beach is always fun. Once I have set up my chair, table and stretched paper, I wander off to buy an ice cream to get myself in the mood for painting. The view of the buildings could have been the same 100 years ago, but if I move just a few feet along the beach I get a new architectural vista of those amazing old flintstone buildings and walls – pink, yellow or old Norfolk red brick – and the wonderful Victorian pier. Then there’s everything beachy, like families playing with kites, cricket bats or Frisbees, or people running into the sea screaming, fishermen bringing in their catch for the day and seagulls flocking together and flapping off or swooping through the air. With all this happening around me, it’s like painting in the middle of a big, happy, exciting memory.”

 Overstrand

 “The cliff top at Overstrand is very peaceful to paint as you look out at the vast sea and big blue open skies. A crab-shack sells the fishermen’s catch of the day and the tractor and a hodge-podge of stacked crab pots wait for the next trip out. An ice cream van sits on the jagged cliff edge in the distance, catching children as they wander down the zig-zag slope to the beach, buckets and spades in hand.” 

Blakeney boat

 “My first experience of painting the sea was in my teens when I sailed across to Holland and France ... The flicking of the ropes on the mast and the eternal rolling waves splashing up the side of the boat. When I see gorgeous boats moored on the coast it all comes flooding back. Each one holds so many stories from the sea and the places it has been. I try to capture this when I paint the boats sitting quietly in the dock, with a view across sandy samphire marshes and still skies, waiting for their next adventure.”

Quill and watercolour
Quill and watercolour
Quill and watercolour
Quill and watercolour
Quill and watercolour