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Review Article of the Month - March 2012
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A Work of Art

Last month in this review page we covered three businesses, those involved in computer repairs, so this month we thought we would do something different and move into the recreational field and cover the four art groups that run in Rochford and Ashingdon. We’ll look at them simply in order that they come in the week, so that will be the Ashingdon group, the Haven group, the Rochford Hundred group and finally, the Roche Art group. The one thing they all speak about when you talk to them is friendliness. We have only just recently visited the Ashingdon group but have met the other groups from between two to five or six times, and yes, they are friendly groups!
The Ashingdon Art and Social Group meets on a Tuesday morning between 10 and 12 in Ashingdon Memorial Hall and is the largest of the four groups with numbers up to about twenty five. The leaders of the group emphasised the warmth and friendliness of the group and at the point we got around to taking photos of the room, most of them had congregated at the hatch to get either tea or coffee and chat was the order of the moment. The chairman of this group, Brian, as you’ll see if you go to their page, emphasised that art is for anyone and you don’t have to be great at drawing. A very encouraging approach for beginners. This is one of the two long-standing groups, having been running for about twenty years. With plenty of space in the hall they can cater for plenty of newcomers. From time to time they have people in to demonstrate painting.
On Tuesday afternoons from 1.30 to 3.30 you will find the Haven Art Group in St. Marks Hall. This group has been running from somewhere between four and six years, we believe, and normally has between fifteen and seventeen members there, with room at a push for a maximum of twenty. This group tries to get out and about once or twice each summer to get outdoor painting experience and they hold an exhibition each Autumn in the W.I. Hall.  As with all the other groups they have a light and friendly approach to the afternoon with a tea or coffee break half way through, and beginners and not-so-beginners are both welcome.  
On Wednesday afternoons in the Parish Rooms in Rochford, the Rochford Hundred Art Group meet between 2 and 4. This is the smallest of the groups and the size of the Parish Rooms limit them to about a maximum of a dozen and at the time of writing they had eleven members.
This group has been running for less than a year and emphasises the warmth and friendship and intimacy that a small group engenders. They welcome beginners and experienced artists but size of room limits numbers.
Wednesday evening sees the Roche Art Group meeting between 7.30 and 9.30 in the hall to the rear of St. Teressa’s, and s the other long standing group having originally being formed about twenty years ago.
This is a group, normally of between fifteen and eighteen meeting together, although there is some room for expansion in numbers with an adequate, well lit room. It is a very outward looking group, holding an exhibition at least once a year, and regularly inviting in instructors/demonstrators. They have recently had six newcomers, three of whom are pure beginners.  There is an exceptionally welcoming atmosphere and skills very clearly span the range of beginners to real expert!
Should you wish to see the work of these groups, contact numbers etc., then please just click on the links above to go to their respective pages. The Haven and the Rochford Hundred Art group, by dint of the size of their rooms are approaching maximum numbers but both of the other two clearly have space for plenty more.

Our experience over the past year, although we have been welcomed by all, has mostly been with the Roche Art Group (as their pages will indicate) where we have been invited back again and again to observe and even participate in what they are doing. As we started out by saying, warmth and friendliness is a key characteristic of each of these groups, and we’re very happy to serve them in whatever way we can.

Cost are very similar with each group, and tea and coffee (and biscuits) are there to fuel the half-way pause and interaction with each group.

If you have ever wondered about taking up drawing or painting, these groups provide an admirable setting here in Rochford and Ashingdon, and there are plenty of people to give help and guidance. Why not give it a go!