AN ART group that started in lockdown will be proudly showcasing its work as part of a county-wide initiative this summer.
Artists, venues and galleries will be opening their doors to the public for Hampshire Open Studios from August 20 to 29.
Winchester art group Strange Times Quest will be taking part, welcoming the public to St Mary’s Chapel Hall over the August bank holiday weekend.
Terry Linehan started the group in 2019, to keep them painting amid the pandemic. A new ‘quest’ is released each month, identifying a topic for the painters to interpret.
Terry said: “I started STQ to offer something positive to think about – a distraction from the awfulness of Covid. It helped to bring us together even though we couldn’t meet, and reminded us all of the value of art-making in our lives.
“Two years on we’re still going strong, and our numbers continue to grow. We might be making art alone in our own homes, but we certainly have an enthusiastic and engaged community of artists who enjoy making time for creativity.”
An open studio of mixed media paintings, slideshows and demonstrations from more than 30 artists from the group will be on show from August 26 to August 28. And local members will be there to welcome the public for cake and conversation.
The group began with only six members, quickly growing to 30. The online nature allows people to take part from home, with even people from France joining in.
Rosemarie Humpage, who has been involved since the beginning, said: “It was lovely because I think all of a sudden people felt very isolated, especially people living on their own and when people don’t go to something they stop doing that activity and no longer get their paints out. So, this made people feel connected with others. Although people are doing it alone in their own homes, they’re together as a community.”
The group started with a Midsummer Night’s Dream and have since conquered quests such as ‘looking up’, ‘the London skyline’, and ‘the 13th day of Christmas’.
Member Irene Dowding said: “It’s difficult to choose a favourite because we’ve done so many quests – you get so many ideas and interpretations.”
Since restrictions lifted some of the members now meet on a weekly basis to paint at Weeke Community Centre.
Rosemarie said: “We’re just hoping that people will support us. Last year we had more support than we were expecting. We’re not professionals but it shows that anybody can do anything if they just have a go.”
For more go to strangetimesquest.wordpress.com/.
A message from the editor
Thank you for reading this article – we appreciate your support.
Subscribing means you have unrestricted access to the latest news and reader rewards – all with an advertising-light website.
Don’t take my word for it – subscribe here to see for yourself.
Looking to advertise an event? Then check out our free events guide.