Countryside artist's 100 drawings in 100 days will feature in charity exhibition
PUBLISHED: 06:00 06 November 2019 | UPDATED: 09:53 08 November 2019
An artist inspired by the East Anglian countryside is preparing for a fundraising exhibition after completing 100 drawings in 100 days to help a farming mental health charity.
Kate Batchelor, from Kessingland near Lowestoft, undertook the creative challenge to raise money and awareness for The YANA (You Are Not Alone) Project, which offers confidential support to farmers and rural communities across Norfolk and Suffolk.
Having grown up on a farm near Beccles, she said she was aware of the particular pressures of life on the land, and chose to support the charity after seeing a news report about farmers struggling with depression.
During 100 consecutive days she illustrated 100 rural scenes across Norfolk and Suffolk ranging from modern farm machinery to traditional livestock and countryside characters.
A public exhibition of her work will be held from 10am to 4pm on Saturday November 30 at The Atrium at the Norfolk Showground outside Norwich. All the original artworks will be for sale, and will also feature in a book to raise further funds for YANA.
"It turned out to be a much bigger challenge than I thought," said Mrs Batchelor. "I had not quite realised how time-consuming it would be. The drawings took from three to six-and-a-half hours each, plus the research visits. But because of the charity I wanted to put the extra effort in and do it really well.
"It was a cause near to my heart, and a really worthwhile charity to work for.
"We were looking at the framework of contemporary farming, interspersed with older bits of farming history and some of the people who work in the countryside. I wanted to do some poignant pictures, like the man standing alone in the field, to remind people what the project was all about."
READ MORE: 100 artworks in 100 days: Artist's challenge to help farming mental health charity
Mrs Batchelor said she found illustrating agricultural machinery a technical challenge, but was on more familiar ground with farm animals, with a portrait of dairy cows at Calf and Foot Dairy in Somerleyton among her favourites.
"I come from a wildlife illustration background, so furry things are fine for me, but I have not drawn so many tractors since I was at school," she said.
YANA trustee Melinda Raker said the "phenomenal" interest in the artist's challenge had prompted many calls to the charity, and the fundraising would help farmers and rural families in difficulty.
"The uptake for the YANA fully-funded counselling is at an all-time high, necessitating YANA to take on 11 professional counsellors in Norfolk and Suffolk alone," she said.
"The sale of Kate's superb drawings will help us to continue that essential provision and we are incredibly grateful to this wonderfully kind and talented artist."