my taste of East Anglia – John Patchett IEA

John Patchett IEA is a full-time professional artist living in Suffolk. Here he shares his love for East Anglia, and how it inspires him, as well as his favourite pavlova recipe!

I am a full-time professional artist, regarded by some as one of the country’s leading exponents in the art of pastel painting. My love for the vibrancy and freshness of pastels has always been a feature of my work. I am constantly motivated and inspired by everything that surrounds me, not just by the East Anglian landscape, but the atmosphere and feeling I experience within it. Whether it be the chaos of a busy shopping street in Norwich or the tranquillity of a quiet corner of the Norfolk Broads, I try to record and respond with sensitivity, energy, and enthusiasm. After attending Grimsby School of Art, Kingston-upon-Thames College of Art, and Brighton College of Art, I settled in Adelaide, Australia, where I lived for 19 years. In 1994, I returned to this country, settling in East Anglia, where I have easy access to some of my favourite painting locations. In 2017, I became a full member of The Institute of East Anglian Artists (IEA).

where I am
I live in a 400-year-old house with my wife Helen in the delightful market town of Beccles, on the border of Suffolk and Norfolk. I really cannot think of anywhere else I would prefer to live. It has so many amenities, including a quayside, a common, a popular lido, a wide range of sporting facilities, interesting boatyards, a museum, numerous clubs of every description, and a great selection of shops and eateries.

my locals
In Beccles, we are spoiled for choice. One of my favourite places to dine out is Graze Restaurant in the centre of town, a friendly, welcoming establishment with a delicious menu and a beautiful garden should you prefer to eat alfresco. Prezzo Restaurant, which used to be the Beccles cinema and still retains many of the original features, is quite a unique building to visit. Twyfords, The Galley, Space at the Quay, Relish, and The Swan House all offer unique and varied menus – a veritable gourmet’s delight. Those preferring Indian, Chinese, Italian or the numerous take-away outlets are also well provided for.

location location location
Beccles is ideally located for easy access to some of my favourite locations. Situated mid-way between Norwich and Southwold, my two most frequented painting destinations, I feel so lucky to have such inspirational places to paint virtually on my doorstep. Beccles, being on the southernmost part of the Broads complex, also allows me to feature inland waterways in my choice of subject matter. Although I am probably best known for my paintings of Norwich’s iconic marketplace and historic streets, I derive immense pleasure from my painting excursions to Southwold’s beach and harbour.

I am afraid I cannot be considered to be a cook in any shape or form; however, I do enjoy dining out and trying new taste sensations from time to time. Having lived in Australia for a number of years, I have had the opportunity of trying kangaroo steaks, which are very low in cholesterol and delicious; snapper, a wonderful fish not common in this country; and cevapcicis, a spiced minced meat sausage, originally from Serbia and Croatia and much loved by all those Aussies who love their barbecues! I did have to draw the line when offered lamb’s brain. I tried it but couldn’t quite get used to what I was actually eating.

My favourite meal of all time would be Chateaubriand with a béarnaise sauce, which I experienced in a restaurant while on holiday in Le Touquet, France. I still remember that meal, even after two decades have passed. My favourite dessert has to be an apple strudel – I simply love apples. Having said that, while my culinary expertise is somewhat limited, I attended a cookery day where I received excellent instruction from Paula Allard from Framingham Earl High School. She patiently guided
me through making a strawberry pavlova, and I was more than happy with the result!

looking ahead
After the lockdowns I am hoping, like most people, that 2022 will be a busy and fruitful year and I shall continue to show my paintings at The Southwold Gallery, Ferini Gallery in Pakefield, Mandell’s Gallery in Norwich, and The Red Lobster Gallery in Sheringham.

The pinnacle of the year will undoubtedly be my major one-man exhibition at The Forum in Norwich from 1-6 August entitled Personal Views and Transformations. It will be open from 9.30am to 5pm daily and I shall be in attendance each day to meet members of the public and demonstrate my pastel technique most afternoons.

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