THE beauty of the natural world is the cue for a new exhibition opening at Ilminster Arts Centre on January 21.

The eight artists who are ‘Inspired by Nature’ include Somerset sculptor Stephanie Hobhouse who is known for her skill in bringing her subjects to life in clay and bronze resin – her dog portraits are difficult to resist!

Walking in the Somerset countryside with her dogs is the inspiration behind Ruth Drew’s vibrant paintings of flowers and animals – ‘I build them up in layers, creating a depth to draw in the observer’, says Ruth, ‘the subject is always the result of an emotional response’.

Emotion is at the heart of Jonathan Hodgson’s observational drawings, and Gill Pritchett’s abstract paintings – two contrasting approaches.

Helen Bamber is a textile artist from Devon who creates rich and resonant images of nature. Lichens are a particular interest, and a frequent motif in her work. Fellow Devonian Norma Walton is photographic artist whose flower images comment on the transience of youth and beauty.

Painter Cathy Spooner is particularly drawn to natural forms such as rock formations, wood, sea and riverscapes. Her recent work explores nature using a microscope, producing exciting effects.

Exhibition runs until February 9.