The group was founded in 1969 by Barry Watkin, a distinguished artist well known in the UK and abroad for his instructional lectures, books, DVDs and television programmes with the purpose of encouraging local artists with proven talent or potential.
In doing that, it differs from most other local art groups in that its membership is limited to about 35 active artists, selected for their commitment and ability. This has built and sustained the group's reputation for quality and ensures that its exhibitions are widely appreciated and well attended.
Throughout the year, members meet on Thursday evenings in order to paint, compare notes, encourage each other and develop their skills. Occasionally a recognised professional is invited to convene an all day workshop to develop specific skills for the members.
Throughout the summer, members gather for plein air paintings in locations of scenic interest and in past years have enjoyed weekends away together in Rye, Canterbury Lewes, Arundel and Cookham in Berkshire.