Art show raises funds for lifeboat

An art show raising funds for lifeboats is launched this weekend. Richard Batson talked to one exhibitor who knows at first hand about the beauty and savagery of the sea.

An art show raising funds for lifeboats is launched this weekend. Richard Batson talked to one exhibitor who knows at first hand about the beauty and savagery of the sea.

They paint the sea. They photograph the sea. And their creations are going to raise funds for people who save lives on the sea.

For 30 Norfolk artists are being brought together for an exhibition, launching at Holt this weekend, which is helping the RNLI lifeboats and their volunteer crews.

And a few of them know at first hand about the power of the sea - as an inspirational creative force, but with ability to take life - because they man and support the lifeboats themselves.

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Chris Taylor is a member of the Sheringham crew, as well as a noted local portrait and landscape photographer.

His atmospheric pictures capture the sea and its contrasting moods.

Some show hulks of rotting boats sitting on tranquil marshes, or working fishing vessels resting on a glistening wet slipway between trips.

But when the weather turns up the wick, the beautiful benign shoreline becomes a foaming cauldron of towering waves battering concrete sea defences under snarling stormclouds.

The 37-year-old, who has been a crewman nine years and a professional photographer five, said the sea was captivating because of its 'ever changing moods, skies and weather.'

But he added: 'The conditions that make it most difficult as a lifeboatman make it most exciting as a photographer.

'I love watching a storm from the beach but there is always a knot in your stomach, knowing that you could have to launch.'

Mr Taylor says he prefers to photograph the motion of a heaving sea rather than a sunny scene, but that 'you have to respect it.'

As a child he would hear the maroons go off, and run down to watch the lifeboat launch, he remembered, adding: 'I always had an admiration for those who went out in the boat.'

Now he is among them, and his work will feature in the Seascapes exhibition at the Nicholson Gallery in Gresham's School in Holt from this weekend.

All the artists have agreed to give 40pc of sales proceeds to the RNLI. Profits from a raffle - to which artists are giving items of work as prizes - will be split between the lifesaving charity and the Haiti earthquake disaster appeal.

Styles range from classical landscapes to striking abstracts inspired by the shore's constantly-changing forms, colours and textures.

Fishing boats that ply the waters in a time honoured trade figure large, as does the iconic face of legendary Cromer lifeboat coxswain Henry Blogg, whose thin-lipped smile from a weathered face peers from beneath a yellow sou'wester, by Martin Wall.

The exhibition idea was hatched last year by Gresham's School's art department, whose teachers will be among the exhibitors, including event organiser Emma Delpech, who said: 'We had a smaller event for the RNLI three years ago involving students, families and friends, but wanted to widen it out using local artists.

'It will also be good for our students seeing how a theme can be interpreted in so many styles.'

Other artists taking place are:

Martin Kinnear, Krys Leach, Susan Tatler, Maureen Cherry, Linda Patrick, Josie Nudd, Desmond Clover, Rosemary Carruthers, Kit Wade, Laurie Rudling, Jim Collin, Kevin Turton, Brigitte Anne Hague, Chris Hollick, Carol Gibbons, Kate Barclay and Hazel Millington.

Seascapes is open daily at the Nicholson Gallery, Gresham's School, Cromer Road, Holt from tomorrow to February 11, 9am to 4pm Monday to Saturday.

More information about Chris Taylor's work can be seen at