Following the recent colourful exhibition of elver paintings, the current George Café exhibition displays the works of many local artists on the theme of living creatures on land and sky as well as on water writes David Kent.

 As you enter the exhibition room you are presented with the ‘Large White Whale’, Jonathan Oakes’ acrylic representation of this marine animal, with an angry verse mourning the decline in numbers of this iconic Atlantic inhabitant, which will haunt the world as it declines. Amongst his other works at the exhibition he presents a wounded stag, another victim of human activity.

The tiny to tall creatures all have a story to tell, skilfully interpreted by the 20 artists who have contributed to this festival of animals on land, sea and air. The only non-realistic picture is Jackie Drinkwater’s dramatic portrait of the great Hindu elephant god Ganesh riding an enormous rat and glowering balefully at the moon, a dramatic and mysterious portrait.

Welcome to Olena Voinarovych, from Ukraine, who has, after only 3 months in this country, has established herself as a local artist. Her bold, bright, colourful boar, fox and lamb are not afraid to look the viewer in the eye.

Helen Gee catches her bewildered long-eared hares unawares, Julie Sullivan in watercolour and gouache catches her animals on a bridge at Puzzlewood, Deborah Phelps Gane’s birds fly in a green sky, Aileen Wright’s winter fox patrols the frozen wastes, and her dogs with a fox stare balefully at the viewer. Manda Gwinn’s colourful fish, frog, bat, centipede and spider, and Wendy Murphy’s dogs and fox, hedgehog, boar and hare are in your face, engaging with the viewer, and Jenny Westbrook provides a menagerie of toy animals by the light of the silvery moon. All these animals have a real personality.

Gloucester Contemporary Artists and locally based farOpen and Canopy artistic groups support local exhibitions and artists, and the George café is now become a Forest creative arts centre.

The exhibition at the George, Newnham is open from 10.30am to 4pm from Tuesday to Saturday and runs until April 27