Scenes from a sketchbook

PUBLISHED: 12:24 20 January 2015 | UPDATED: 12:24 20 January 2015

Artist Beth Andrew is preparing for her solo exhibition Sketching Suffolk at the Snape Gallery in February.

Artist Beth Andrew is preparing for her solo exhibition Sketching Suffolk at the Snape Gallery in February.

Local scenes and sketches by Beth Andrew, Snape Maltings Gallery, from February 14

Artist Beth Andrew is preparing for her solo exhibition Sketching Suffolk at the Snape Gallery in February.Artist Beth Andrew is preparing for her solo exhibition Sketching Suffolk at the Snape Gallery in February.

Beth Andrew cradles her cappuccino like something precious. “I try to limit myself,” she says. “It’s a bit of a treat.”

We’re sitting in Cafe 1885 at Snape Maltings, and although I’ve only just met the young artist, it’s clear Beth has a sort of ‘pinch me, I can’t believe it’s real’ air about her.

Indeed, the path that led her to Snape and her current position as bookshop manager and exhibited artist hasn’t been entirely without hazards.

Originally from west London, Beth’s earliest experience of Suffolk is childhood holidays, staying with family friends. She grew up in the capital and studied art, but after the untimely death of her brother she sought solace on the Suffolk coast.

Artist Beth Andrew is preparing for her solo exhibition Sketching Suffolk at the Snape Gallery in February.Artist Beth Andrew is preparing for her solo exhibition Sketching Suffolk at the Snape Gallery in February.

“I did a little bit of teaching here one summer in Aldeburgh and thought, I could live here, by the sea – as you do. I moved the following year.” With no job and no way of paying rent beyond a few months, Beth admits it was an impulsive, and potentially disastrous, decision.

“Everyone told me I was crazy, that I’d be crying alone in my flat every night – and it was tough – but I’d made the decision and I was determined to stay,” she said.

Beth kept herself going by painting, and a temporary job at Snape Maltings. When the opportunity came up to run the book shop there she jumped at it.

After seven years in Suffolk, and now living in Thorpeness, she’s put down her artistic roots. She sells her work in Snape Maltings Gallery and is also part of an artists’ group that exhibits every year at the Peter Pears Gallery in Aldeburgh. Indeed, she’s found Suffolk to be a richly creative place and an endless source of inspiration.

Artist Beth Andrew is preparing for her solo exhibition Sketching Suffolk at the Snape Gallery in February.Artist Beth Andrew is preparing for her solo exhibition Sketching Suffolk at the Snape Gallery in February.

An exhibition in February of her work as a featured artist at Snape Gallery will offer visitors a selection of local scenes and sketches, most of which have begun life in the sketchbook she carries with her all the time.

Like many artists in Suffolk, she’s inspired by the nature around her – crows are her favourites and there will be a couple in this show among the landscapes.

Beth’s style is thoughtful, reflective and unhurried. “I’m a collector of things – I love things that are in boxes. I love the idea of things living in there and being safe. I have a house full of stuff I could keep safe.”

www.snapemaltings.co.uk 01728 688303

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