Art Group

Over the last 10 years, I have visited Stock Art Group's joyful annual exhibition. Despite dreadful snowy weather, this year's friendly event still had plenty of visitors and was all beautifully organised. Once you had paid your £1 entrance fee and maybe bought a strip of raffle tickets to win a painting, picked up a guide and were ready to go, the Village Hall revealed a wealth of enthusiasm waiting to be explored.
I started with Sue Shadforth's spinning, weaving, silk painting and pottery and moved on with Yvonne Blackwood's Asian study "By a River" then a close encounter with a water buffalo before coming home with footprints in the sand leading to a vibrant line of rectangular windbreaks. Marion Clarke's oil painting "Overlooking the River Crouch" had paint applied by palette knife with such fresh energy you could feel the warm cornfield in the foreground. Meanwhile, the still life "Kitchen Pottery" in gentle sepia shades demonstrated Michael Cole's good observational drawing skills, whilst Ann Fuller showcased her lovely free style and freshness of colour in "Rape Field".
Laura Doggart's "Koala Bear" was a stunning, balanced composition. Fur, claws, weight and softness offset against a simple pale leafy background showed masterly ability but he was too special to sell and was marked firmly NFS! Her "Sunset on the Bay of the Somme" was a pensive study of light and silhouette whilst the delicious toad sheltering beneath a toadstool in "Keeping Dry" was pro-active with its wet, splashing raindrops. I loved it.
What humour there was in the eyes of the "Carnival Cats" by Shirlee Grundy and what contrasting style achieved in "Sheltering Sparrows" with its dark oval mount and too heavy frame somehow working to lead the eye into their safe place. Elizabeth Hunter showed her excitingly different approach to composition with her geometric shapes of sails and fruit whilst Gayle Laybourn always produces something I find eye-catching. This time it was beautifully framed "Blue Crab". I wondered how she had approached this study to celebrate the symmetry and deep watercolour shades. Simple isn't easy!
I enjoyed "Winter Scene with Sheep" (after Anuk Nauman) by Liz Sinclair with its naïve charm and shadows in the snow. I liked the sense of perspective she had in "Wet Wood". I spotted Beth Weaver's "Beach Huts at Southwold" from a distance and had to savour a closer look before finding the colourful poses of her "Cheeky Bantams". Finally, I reached Russell Parker. I loved the yellow sky and greyness of "Busy Bosphorus Dawn". His wash technique in "Saturn Rising" achieved great richness of translucent colour. He has a painting style with a variety of textural effects with a startling clarity of hue that I found I really liked.
So well done, flourishing Stock Art Group, for sharing your welcoming show with us again. Enjoy a peaceful coffee there next year and just be sure not to miss it!
 Jane Moon
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