Highgate Watercolour Group exhibit at Lauderdale House

Mermaid Horse Girondins Fountain

Mermaid Horse Girondins Fountain - Credit: Archant

The long-running art group hold their annual exhibition at the Highgate arts centre

Shadows in Pond Square by Philip Sanderson

Shadows in Pond Square by Philip Sanderson - Credit: Archant

There's a golden opportunity to buy works by 26 local artists when the Highgate Watercolour Group hold their annual exhibition next month.

More than 200 works on paper including watercolours, pastels and drawings, ranging from abstracts to still lifes and landscapes go on show at Lauderdale House.

Part of the Highgate Society, the group was founded in 1980 and meet every Thursday at the Lit and Sci in South Grove, where they often paint objects brought in and arranged by members.

Members also visit venues around London, sketching in museums or visiting gardens.

Vanessa Whinney, who joined the group in the 1980s not long after moving to Highgate, says: "There is a sense of community among the group, we are friends who enjoy painting together.

"Working at home on your own can feel lonely, so a lot of us belong to several groups who get together every week to paint."

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"There is no tuition, so it is not suitable for beginners, but there is mutual help and encouragement. There's a friendly swapping of ideas, and tips as we are challenged to work hard, and improve, and we do."

Don't expect post-modernity, says Whinney, but the group does aim for "diversity and creativity and relishes challenges."

"Before photography, watercolour was used as a record of people's lives or to make portraits of their family. It was seen as a suitable activity for young ladies, so it's got a bit of a reputation which is hard to shake.

"But for the amateur, watercolour is a real challenge. A lot of artists think it's going to be easy, but it's a difficult medium do do well. You don't have the same ability to correct mistakes. Those who are good at it study and work on their technique, and once it's mastered, the paintings flow."

The website and annual show are also a forum to exhibit and sell work that often features local scenes.

"Highgate and its environs are on our doorstep and we have the great privilege to document its history and beauty all through the year." Whinney, whose artist father James Fletcher Watson founded the Pure Watercolour Society, also paints in Suffolk and Norfolk.

The exhibition also includes work by "keen urban sketcher" Sue Lees, lively watercolours by Ruth Edwards, and abstracts by Charlotte Stephenson who started her career exhibiting on the railings of Hyde Park.

"We are very lucky to have such a core of super people and super artists," adds Whinney.

The Exhibition runs October 30 to November 25 at Lauderdale House.