Cambridgeshire artist Prue van der Hoorn’s A&E experience prompts fundraising calendar
Unable to go out and paint, or to teach, Haslingfield-based artist Prue van der Hoorn spent much of 2020 putting together a delightful wall calendar.
Prue’s Rainbow Colours Calendar 2021 has been selling well via eBay, with 25 per cent of each one sold going to NHS Charities Together’s Covid-19 appeal. The calendar is made up of paintings and drawings on 12 different themes that Prue, who regularly participates in Cambridge Open Studios, created.
“When we had the first lockdown, I designed and illustrated the calendar for the NHS Charities,” says Prue, who studied graphic design and Illustration at the Cambridge Art School – now Anglia Ruskin University – before working in a design studio for several years in Cambridge.
“I actually ended up in A&E twice in March  so I saw first-hand what was going on, so when I came out I started the series of 12 paintings, designed the calendar, and I’ve sold up to 800 – and I can’t believe here we are, the beginning of March, and I’m still selling them – at half price now.
"They were originally £8 but I couldn’t really justify that at the beginning of February!”
Prue first started exhibiting in and around Cambridge in the late 1980s. Her work has been on show in many places, including The Central Library, Cambridge, Cambridge Arts Theatre, Ely’s Babylon Gallery, Cottenham Village College, and Wimpole Hall, where she has run workshops for the National Trust in silk painting, glass and decoupage – despite her first love being watercolour painting.
Prue particularly enjoys painting wildlife and landscapes. She also teaches watercolour painting at various places around the county. She says she was given special permission by NHS Charities Together to use their logo and, after about six months working on it, the calendar was printed in September.
The 12 pictures that make up the calendar are a mixture of watercolour, pencil and crayon, and pen and ink, and reflect the time of year, from a winter forest to spring flowers and autumn leaves. There are beach huts in July and hot air balloons in August.
Prue teaches watercolour painting to students at Cambourne Village College and previously taught community education at Comberton Village College. She likes to take her students outside to paint.
“I do like painting buildings,” she says, “but my students don’t so we tend to go to places they like to go.”
Looking ahead, Prue has an exhibition planned for September in the village hall in Grantchester. “We do it every other year in Grantchester because it’s such a touristy venue and we do very well,” she says.
Prue is also part of Milton Studios, the largest collection of independent studios in Cambridge.