Jasper Hotel, Elizabeth Street,12pm

Online meet up groups remind me a little bit of air travel. You are placed into a confined space for a set period of time, with a group of people you have never met and have nothing in common with other than your chosen destination. Your worst nightmare or the ride of your life?

This week, I went to find out how the Melbourne Painters’ Group are spreading their wings. The group was established in 2007 through the online Meet Up website and has over 125 members from across Melbourne, who meet regularly to teach each other painting techniques.

Group coordinator Steph Hall lay down a challenge to twenty-five of the group’s members earlier this year to paint using totally new subjects, technique and material.

So this week they launched their first exhibition, duly named One. I spoke briefly with Steph at the Jasper Hotel about how the exhibition has brought out the best in the painters.

Steph Hall

There can be no art without fear and we are all pushing our creative boundaries to produce something totally new. We are using new techniques and such as abstract, mixed media and different brush strokes to go beyond our own limits as painters.

For some of us, it is the first time exhibiting and others, such as myself, are artists with over seven years professional experience.

The Melbourne Painters’ Group is amazing because brings together painters from Sri Lanka, Poland, Germany, El Salvador, New Zealand and Australia.

For example, Ursula moved to Australia from Germany and when she arrived in Melbourne she found there is a much stronger abstract scene here, so she is hoping to experiment with that.

We are a painting family and really support each other to achieve our potential, whatever our level of ability.

One opened this week at the Jasper Hotel upstairs gallery, Level 1, 489 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne. It will be on display until October 4 2010.