This year, for the first time, the Oundle Art Group was able to stage its annual exhibition in the Yarrow Gallery. The two floors of the gallery were hung with paintings in watercolour, oil and mixed media. The generous space gave visitors the chance to appreciate the variety of styles of the artists.
The group was founded in Oundle 50 years ago by Tony Haywood, who is 93 years old. Members now come from across East Northamptonshire and meet weekly in Tansor on Thursday afternoons.
Sessions are structured, but informal, with a variety of themes or activities scheduled, such as kitchenalia in a still life, “in the style of” a well-known artist, “white light”, caricatures, or movement. Twice a year they bring in a model for life drawing, and in the summer they often go out and paint en plein air on location. There are also workshops with visiting artists.
Some of the members have practised professionally, some people are keen enthusiasts, and some are just having a go to learn new skills.
Tamsin Edwards joined ten years ago. “It can be competitive,” she joked. But more seriously, she described the group as a very supportive network. “The art is important, but it’s not the only part. It’s social and inclusive,” she said. “Art is for everyone.”