John Hurst: On My Way

Artist John Hurst sketching at Salthouse marshes

Artist John Hurst sketching at Salthouse marshes - Credit: Archant

Glorious skies arching over landscapes of reeds, water, boats and birds shine from a new book of walks and views by artist John Hurst

A view towards Scolt Head Island by John Hurst

A view towards Scolt Head Island by John Hurst - Credit: supplied

Marshes shimmer as the water of the rising tide seeps into channels and pools beneath a vast purple sky. Ripples rock a resting row-boat, a guillemot gazes out from a clutch of stones, feathers soft, eye gimlet gleaming.

Artist John Hurst has captured the colours, light and atmosphere of the north Norfolk coast in a series of stunning watercolours. Rivers seem to flow almost hypnotically from the low hills and clouds on the horizon, paths lead through flower-frothed hedges or along breezy, boaty shorelines. The paintings are collected in John’s latest book of watercolours, and thanks to his hand-drawn maps, can be followed, step-by-step by walkers.

Guillemot, one of the paintings featured in a book of Norfolk walks by artist John Hurst

Guillemot, one of the paintings featured in a book of Norfolk walks by artist John Hurst - Credit: Archant

On My Way is a celebration of 25 of John’s favourite north Norfolk walks and views, each accompanied by a map, views along the way and vignettes of birds and buildings, streams and seascapes. John shows his readers snow buntings on Cley beach in December, bluebells in Bayfield woods in April.

Many of his pictures include beautifully observed birds. “It was birdwatching which brought me to Norfolk,” says John, who sketches on location and then paints in a studio shed in his Sheringham garden. “I started painting Blakeney and we fell in love with the area. I was getting so many commissions to paint north Norfolk, and exhibitions here, that we moved here!”

Glandford Glaven by John Hurst

Glandford Glaven by John Hurst - Credit: supplied

The foreword for the book is written by cricket hero Sir Ian Botham, who once lived next door to John in Lincolnshire. The pair have been friends ever since and John has joined Sir Ian on his charity walks, painted a portrait of the cricketer which featured on a postage stamp and illustrated books for him.

John began painting as a child and his career has included commissions from aristocrats and cathedral clergy, recording life on the great countryside estates of England, tutoring fellow artists and a series of illustrated books. His paintings of places across Britain and Ireland associated with preacher John Wesley, who helped found the Methodist Church, formed the basis of a book and are now owned and exhibited by The World Methodist Council in the USA as The Hurst Collection.

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John has also run bird-sketching classes on the Norfolk Wildlife Trust reserves at Salthouse and Cley and was commissioned to paint watercolours of the Sheringham Shoal Offshore Windfarm as it took shape.

The walks of On My Way range from a short ramble around Beeston to a hike along Blakeney Point and John loves them all. “My next project is to continue recording my finds. I’m finding so many beautiful view points I didn’t know existed,” he says.

on my way

On My Way, by John Hurst, is launched on Saturday, July 30. The invitation-only evening is followed by a public exhibition of paintings from the book, at the Henry Blogg Museum, Cromer, on Sunday, July 31. Part of the proceeds from the book will go to Sir Ian Botham’s Leukaemia Foundation. It will be produced in two editions - a softback, ideal for walkers and a coffee-table hardback sponsored by the Crown Prince of Bahrain - another admirer of John’s paintings.

Exhibitions of the paintings will then be held at:

The Norfolk Wildlife Trust Cley Marshes Visitors’ Centre from July 28 to August 9.

Salthouse Village Hall from August 26 to 29.

St Nicholas Church Room, Blakeney Quay, from September 10 to 16.

On My Way will also be available from some bookshops and

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