Discover the vivid landscapes of Haidee-Jo Summers at Patchings Art Centre
It is a sunny day in late autumn and the red-brick former farm buildings at Patchings Art Centre near Calverton are bathed in a warm light. The golden, freshly-harvested fields surrounding it seem to stretch for miles and it’s difficult to believe that this peaceful retreat is just a short drive away from the centre of Nottingham.
When I meet artist Haidee-Jo Summers, whose exhibition A Breath of Fresh Air recently opened at Patchings, she is taking a break from teaching a group of painters at the workshop in the converted barn. We make our way to the gallery where the exhibition is housed – and I am immediately greeted with a series of bold landscapes, which are impressionistic but also decidedly modern.
Haidee-Jo, who lives in Grantham but spent several years in Nottinghamshire, uses a technique known as ‘en plein air’ – a French term meaning ‘in the open air’. She paints all of her pieces outdoors, her deft brushstrokes capturing the scene as it unfolds over a number of hours.
A former member of the Nottingham Society of Artists, Haidee-Jo works with oil paints and is inspired by her visits to countries such as France, Venice and Morocco, as well places closer to home, particularly around Yorkshire, Cornwall and her home county of Lincolnshire.
Among her artistic infleunces she cites the portrait painter John Singer Sargant and Spanish artist Joaquín Sorolla, along with the work of Kenneth Howard and marine artist David Curtis.
“I paint a lot – all the work in this exhibition has been done since February,” she tells me during my visit.
“When you are outside you have to be quite quick because the light is constantly changing. When I paint seascapes, the tides goes in and out or people and boats move around so you have to work quickly to capture the first impressions of what you see.
“The painting also describes a period of time. You’re having a conversation and feeling the heat or cold. All that shows in the painting; it’s like a passage of two or three hours rather than describing one moment.”
One of the most striking pieces in this exhibition is a group of local boys jumping into an aqua-blue sea from a Moroccan harbour. The bright colours, which reference those used in Moroccan design, perfectly evoke the hazy heat of early summer. And while her work has a timeless quality, Haidee-Jo does not shy away from the trappings of modern life, for example, she includes a wheelie bin on her picture of Patchings Art Centre.
She says: “People have asked me why I have put a bin in it – but I paint it because it is there at that moment.”
A Breath of Fresh Air is on at Patchings until 23rd November. More information is available via the website. Haidee-Jo is pictured above with one of her exhibits and you can find out more about her work via her website.