Aldeburgh's Thompson's Gallery brings colourful India to the Suffolk coast

They Passed by at Sunset by Ann-Shrager which will form April's showcase exhibition at Aldeburgh's Thompson Gallery

They Passed by at Sunset by Ann-Shrager which will form April's showcase exhibition at Aldeburgh's Thompson's Gallery - Credit: Ann-Shrager

Thompson’s Gallery in Aldeburgh is emerging from lockdown in April with a colourful, online one woman show by Ann Shrager, a sought-after painter and member of the New English Art Club

Trotting Camel by Ann Shrager which is being shown at the Thompson Gallery in Aldeburgh

Trotting Camel by Ann Shrager which is being shown at Thompson's Gallery in Aldeburgh - Credit: Ann Shrager

Trained at the Byam Shaw School of Painting and the Royal Academy Schools, Ann displays her love of elephants as well as Indian and Persian culture in her work. She remembers her mentor at Byam Shaw, Bernard Dunstan, giving her the advice to “paint what you love and love what you paint” which she has taken to heart and feels makes you emotionally involved in your subject and in turn shows in the work you create.  

In addition to elephants and their mahouts, Ann has also developed a fascination with goat herders. A black goat appears in several compositions and she loves to capture the colour and spectacle of Indian brides and grooms as well as ladies in saris. Lately peacocks and other birds have made their way into her work. She likes to paint bleached landscapes and seascapes and has been influenced by Indian and Persian miniatures which is evident in many of her paintings.

Ann works by drawing out her composition before applying any paint. If she doesn’t like what she sees she will draw a different  composition on top which could mean for each finished painting there are may be three or four half completed works buried on top of each other, which leads to a build up of impasto.

Elephant in Pink by Ann Shrager showing at Aldeburgh's Thompson Gallery

Elephant in Pink by Ann Shrager showing at Aldeburgh's Thompson's Gallery - Credit: Ann Shrager

Despite the fierce activity going on beneath the surface, there is a quietness about Ann’s work and although colour is key there is also a subdued softness coupled with simplicity and space. She cites Ivon Hitchens, Henri Matisse and Elizabeth Blackadder as being among her influences.

Does she have any advice for other artists? “Paint what you love” and the magic will happen."
New Paintings by Ann Shrager opens on the Thompson’s Gallery website on April 3. 

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