These contrasts have been evident on my close season travels to artists old and new. Renewing my acquaintance with Shopshire (almost as good as Norfolk) saw a hoar frost followed by glorious afternoon sunshine, topped off with one of the biggest moon's I can ever remember hanging over that strangest of hills, Clee Hill above Ludlow. Importantly this trip finally brought the wonderful of work of SUE CAMPION to the gallery. You can find more about Sue on the other Grapevine blog, http://norwichgrapevine.blogspot.com/.
My first trip west of the year included staying with my very good friend GEOFFREY ROBINSON to select work for his new exhibition with us in Norwich. Again, contrasts. The intense colours and clear outlines of his work couldn't have been more different than the grey swirling mist of the Hampshire coast.
Heading on west, I am never sure how to deal with Bournemouth. Whichever way you go, it does seem to go a long time, but eventually you find yourself in that other miraculous county, Dorset. The bare, high land of Thomas Hardy west of Dorchester - and onwards towards Devon. Astoundingly wet, but still wonderful. My final visit on this trip was the studio of MIKE BERNARD on the north coast. Mike has still to return to Norfolk, but he has found his old sketchbooks, and we have just a taste of what is to come.
And just to complete the saga, leaving the wet of the south and west behind, I returned to North Norfolk on one of those truly remarkable days when the light just makes you glad to be alive.