From beginner hobby painters to accomplished artists, the New Longton Artists have been welcoming members to hone their skills for more than 40 years.
Members meet at their two-roomed studio in New Longton Village Hall to enjoy a yearly programme of projects, once a year displaying their talents for their annual exhibition in June.
There are currently around 40 members, from across the area, who come together each Wednesday evening working in oils, water colour, acrylics, pastels, batik and mixed media.
With no formal teaching, members look to their fellow artists for inspiration and. says committee member Brian Thomas. advice and opinion is always available.
“We have members with a wealth of experience, some are former art teachers, others trained in fine arts but then took breaks for whatever reasons and then we have people who had never before joining picked up a pencil or brush but just had an inkling to draw. That is what is so good about it– there is something for everyone.”
In the past week, members enjoyed an evening of craft felting led by member Mary Holden from Longridge, who has spent many years enjoying free machine embroidery.
She says: “It is nice for other people to have a go and try something new. And everyone has created totally different things, some members like working with landscapes so have crafted a scene, others particular objects but sometimes it simply comes from your own imagination.
“All the members enjoy trying their hand at new skills as you can discover a new creative side.”
As well as the programme nights, many of the group enjoy the opportunity of plein air (outdoor) painting and regularly get together for painting trips locally and further afield.
Brian adds: “The social side is such an important factor, we all enjoy painting but getting together and going somewhere different is all part of the fun. You take along your paints and if you get a picture it’s a bonus!
“It’s the same with our Wednesday evening – it’s about like minded people who want to improve their skills, whatever that may be, having the opportunity to enjoy a hobby and meet with friends.
“We also have a library of ‘Art related’ books and videos available for viewing during work nights.”
Brian says the group is open to anyone who would like to try their hand at art, regardless of experience.
And member David McKiddie, who has been a member for 20 years, echoes the sentiments, he says: “I first came about the group after visiting the annual exhibition and I was so taken with it – I thought I want to be able to do that.
“I enjoy painting but I enjoy the companionship which comes with it .”
The group host its summer exhibition every June, this year’s marked the 42nd event.
Visitors come from far and wide to enjoy the displays.
Members are also regularly invited to display their works in other exhibitions.
The other big calendar event of the year is the Central Lancashire Fine Art Fair which the group have also hosted for more than 20 years.
The prestigious two-day event, which will be held on October 8 and 9, attracts accomplished artists from across the county who come to display and sell their work.
Brian adds: “We have had some wonderful displays from our own artists and visiting – it’s also a great network, people go out of their way to help and the feedback from visitors is always nice.”
New Longton Artists meet on Wednesday evening, New Longton Village Hall, 7.30pm to 10.30pm