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Sudbury artist Christopher Ryland inspired by damage to his home from Storm Eunice for latest Hadleigh exhibition



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Nature has always had the power to inspire Sudbury artist Christopher Ryland, with gloriously-colourful flowers and landscapes a constant theme in his work.

But earlier this year it was not its beauty but its sheer brute force that left an impact when Storm Eunice brought a huge tree crashing down on to his house.

Damage to the roof was so bad he and his wife Pam had to move out until it was made safe, and repairs took months.

Storm Eunice
Storm Eunice
The fallen tree during Storm Eunice. Picture: Jack Berkeley
The fallen tree during Storm Eunice. Picture: Jack Berkeley

The drama – showing the tree propped against the front of their home – is captured in watercolour in Christopher’s latest exhibition, which is on at the Old School Gallery in Hadleigh throughout August.

But the other works stay with the vibrant celebration of the natural world for which he is best known.

“The main theme for this exhibition is flowers and plants growing in situ, in the garden, by a wall or down by the river, although there are others with flowers in my studio as well,” said Christopher, who has lived in Sudbury for 28 years.

Beautiful nature
Beautiful nature
Christopher Ryland, whose home was damaged after a tree fell on it during Storm Eunice. Picture: Mark Westley
Christopher Ryland, whose home was damaged after a tree fell on it during Storm Eunice. Picture: Mark Westley

“One of the main paintings is called Thistledown, painted in late summer. Another, Early Tulips shows the first ones growing in the garden round about March.”

Christopher trained at Goldsmiths College in London, at a time when conceptual art was becoming fashionable – but he always went back to painting.

“I love watercolour. I like the translucent quality. It can be subtle and misty but it can also be quite bold, he says.

Vibrant colours
Vibrant colours

“I started painting flowers while staying in Yorkshire in the 1980s. There was masses of rosebay willow herb, and I picked one, put it in a bottle and painted it. I found it fascinating and have done ever since.

“I still paint flowers a lot when I can’t resist them, and also other subjects which become irresistible, still life, landscapes, scenes out of windows and people – sometimes pastel as well as watercolour,” he said.

Christopher also teaches art and combines producing his own work with running courses from his studio.

His exhibition at The Old School Gallery, Bridge Street, Hadleigh, IP7 5DL, is open every Saturday (10am to 5pm) and Sunday (11am to 4pm) in August.