Sussex Life Landscape Painter of the Year: Winners and finalists on display


- Credit: Archant

The winner of the inaugural Sussex Life Landscape Painter of the Year competition was selected from a shortlist of seven. Lewes’ Chalk Gallery in North Street is exhibiting six of the paintings including the winner from Monday 13 March to Sunday 23 April

Sussex Downs Sunset Sienna V by David Scott Moore - the winning painting for Sussex Life's Landscape

Sussex Downs Sunset Sienna V by David Scott Moore - the winning painting for Sussex Life's Landscape Painter of the Year 2016 - Credit: Archant

David Scott Moore is the winner of our Landscape Painter of the Year 2016 competition, Duncan Hall met him in his Brighton studio.

Dinghy Club by Gay Forster

Dinghy Club by Gay Forster - Credit: Archant

“A photograph captures one 60th of a second. The marks on my paintings capture 45 minutes of constant change and movement. I’m painting them as a first person narrative – as a witness.” When Hove’s David Scott Moore paints a landscape it always begins the same way – as a plein air exercise following the lead of 19th century Impressionists Monet, Renoir and Pissarro and using many of the same oils and glazes. But his subject is generally the South Downs. “You could visit the same site for the rest of your life,” says David, 44, from his studio on the third floor of Brighton’s Phoenix complex. “Painting can reveal different narratives or different compositions even within a couple of minutes because of the changing light conditions and the moving cloud shapes.” David’s favourite Sussex locations are the Long Furlong between Findon Valley and Littlehampton, Ditchling Beacon, Devil’s Dyke, Saddlescombe Farm and Mill Hill – a location Constable once painted too. “I like sublime nature and voluminous skies, panoramic landscapes,” he says. “One of my buyers said it is somewhere people want to go.” His buyers come from as far afield as Australia, China, the US and Portugal – all taking a little piece of David’s Sussex visions. And as well as scooping the Sussex Life Landscape Painter of the Year 2016, David’s work has been exhibited at the Mall Galleries for the 2016 Lynn Painter-Stainers prize and 2015 Discerning Eye Exhibition and highlighted twice by Saatchi Art.

Although all his paintings begin in the open air, he often continues in the studio in what he calls transformations – building on the marks he made to create something new. He makes handwritten notes of the emotions he feels at the site he is working in. “Going back can sometimes reveal something different from what was going through my head,” he says. “It becomes a latent memory of an experience.

Both the plein air and transformations come from the same experience and both can be semi-abstract expressions. There is a lot of surface tension, colour, mood and atmosphere.” That elemental side to his work is in his painting Landscape Before Lightning Storm, which, as the name suggests, was painted as an electrical storm brewed. “It was frightening – I have a metal easel, which could have acted as a conductor, and was on a hill overlooking a panorama of 15 miles. I was torn between staying and going – I was awestruck by the sublime nature which was bringing out these visceral feelings.” His prize-winning painting South Downs Sunset Sienna V came from a similarly elemental session last spring. “It was very dramatic, with fast driving cloudscape and changing light,” he recalls. “The light was reflecting off the sea – it was really sheer like a slice of bright light. There are amazing skies in spring. There is a feeling of change and excitement with the rapidly scudding clouds – it can be very elusive.”

Hammersmith-born David was brought up in Chelsea before his parents moved to Horsham. He recalls walking around St Leonards Forest, near Horsham, as his first true experience of being part of a landscape. Having completed a BA in art and design at Manchester Metropolitan University, he went to the University of Brighton to study for a PGCE. He now lives in Hove with his partner Domino and their two children, aged eight and 10.

Seven Sisters from Cuckmere Beach by Roger Mayles

Seven Sisters from Cuckmere Beach by Roger Mayles - Credit: Archant

Prior to focusing on his art full-time in 2012, David had worked as an art lecturer and as a sculptor for Anish Kapoor and Anselm Keifer. There was a point where he was producing sculpture and landscape paintings simultaneously, but chose to focus on the 2D medium. “I made abstract sculptures exploring space and form using a variety of materials and surfaces,” he says. “There is a strong connection with some of my painting – a visual language I like to use. There is a love of form, shape and space.” At the heart of his work is the experience. “If you’re on holiday painting landscapes there is a bigger memory stamp than if you were just observing them,” he says. “It’s a process which is enjoyable and a worthwhile experience – to sit and consider and landscape, to really study it.”

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Gay Forster - Dinghy Club (Watercolour)

Early Winter Evening near Warninglid by Sarah Mitchener

Early Winter Evening near Warninglid by Sarah Mitchener - Credit: Archant

I paint mainly seascapes and figurative work, often with a semi-abstract twist using watercolour and acrylics. I worked in the hospitality business but I am now retired and able to spend the majority of my time painting. Dinghy Club is a watercolour of East Preston Beach looking towards the Beach Cafe. It was a very wet, windy and sunny day hence the rainbow.

Roger Mayles - Seven Sisters from Cuckmere Beach (Watercolour)

Fly Past the Onion Domes by Julie Harries

Fly Past the Onion Domes by Julie Harries - Credit: Archant

I am a self taught artist working in watercolour. My main subject interests are architectural portraits in high detail. Occasionally I combine landscape subjects with architectural work. I have recently ventured into the world of animal paintings with a degree of success. All my work is completed at home in Seaford.

Sarah Mitchener - Early Winter Evening near Warninglid (Watercolour and ink)

Kings of September by Gill Bustamante

Kings of September by Gill Bustamante - Credit: Archant

I have lived in Brighton for the last 30 years. After a fantastic workshop introduced me to a ‘no rules’ way of working with watercolour I work mainly ‘wet in wet’ using heavy and textured paper which allows me free rein to paint, spray and make marks with tools other than just brushes. This January I was honoured to be elected to the Sussex Watercolour Society. I am constantly inspired by the South Downs, the sea, beautiful local gardens and tremendous local architecture.

Julie Harries - Fly Past the Onion Domes (Acrylic on canvas)

Regency Hove by Clare Harms

Regency Hove by Clare Harms - Credit: Archant

East Sussex is such a beautiful mix of cityscapes and breathtaking countryside. I am a retired police officer, having served for 30 years in many different roles and have always had an interest in art, in particular, painting in acrylics. My favourite subject is seascapes but I enjoy the challenge of painting life from a different perspective or adding a personal touch to a familiar scene.

Gill Bustamante - Kings of September (Oil on canvas)

After acquiring a fine art degree from Brighton in 1983 I began my painting career as a portraitist and muralist. In the late 1990s, after painting my 200th Labrador, I realised I was crushingly bored and needed to develop my own painting style. I began to paint landscapes and seascapes. My goal is to one day paint a place so beautiful I will disappear into it and never be seen again. Kings of September was inspired by the Weirwood reservoir, Forest Row. Kings of September has already been sold and will not appear at the exhibition.

Clare Harms - Regency Hove (watercolour and pen on paper)

I have always loved drawing and painting. I graduated with an honours degree in Fine Art & Related Arts from University College Chichester in 1999, and have since developed a distinctive painting style. I am inspired by the beauty and freedom that surrounds me both at the seafront and on the South Downs. The majority of my work now has an illustrative style focusing on local Brighton and Sussex scenes.

For more about the artist-run Chalk Gallery, which is open daily from 10am to 5pm, visit