Art - Celia Berridge

In the early eighties a Lewes artist was responsible for illustrating the biggest commercial hit the BBC had ever had. Celia Berridge, this month’s featured painter in the Chalk Gallery, had successfully illustrated a number of moderately successful children’s books when her editor asked her to design the spin-off books for a forthcoming TV animation series called Postman Pat. The show wasn’t a great success until a funny thing happened. “Terry Wogan mocked Postman Pat on his TV programme, and it just went huge. I illustrated him for ten years after that, and it really made my career. As well as the animations and children’s books there were all sorts of offshoots. I can’t say it made me a millionaire, but it certainly gave us a number of lovely holidays.” So was she sick of the little chap after a decade with him? “A little bit, yes.”

Celia developed RSI and took a course at Chelsea Art School. “My painting is the exact opposite of my illustration. There is no line-drawing at all. It’s all to do with the paint, and capturing the light,” she says. In the Chalk Gallery she is exhibiting a number of paintings of animals (‘a bit of light relief’), a number of Lewes street scenes (‘I love the way the light falls on the buildings in the twittens’) and a number of road scenes from around Lewes, which beautifully curve into the unknown out of the frame. They’re colourful, they’re striking, and they are refreshingly bereft of human figures. Postmen included. AL

Castle Banks, by Celia Berridge
Chalk Gallery
When? Open 10-5pm, until September 17th
How Much? Free