Birchwood resident’s painting raises funds for disability design

Mark Urwin's painting

Mark Urwin is a disabled resident at the Scope Birchwood service in Cheshamwhere weekly exploratory art classes have been running for four years. Mark’s beautifully created impression of Manet’s A Bar at the Folies-Bergeres has proudly been sold to raise money for DEMAND (Design and Manufacture for Disability) in thanks for their specially designed easels.

The artists at Birchwood have very specific needs to help each individual artist to paint. Personally designed easels created by DEMAND have enabled the group of artists much more freedom and control in their creations where previously the class volunteers had to hold the canvas, making certain angles to paint more awkward.

The vibrancy of colour and appealing scenes of modern life depicted in Manet’s Impressionist portraits have drawn fascination and inspiration for many artists since the 19th Century. A great painting can evoke excitement and offer a compelling insight into the life of an artist. The story behind artist Mark Urwin’s recent interpretive portrait is the perfect depiction of how DEMAND’s creations can help artists like Mark to realise their imagination.

Impact of community art classes at Birchwood

Anita Osbourne is one of the community art tutors at Birchwood and says, “With the painting came this extraordinary outpouring of themselves and they have just been amazing.”

Another great part of DEMAND’s design is that the easel allows the artist to keep their talk boards on their laps so that they don’t lose their voices whilst they are painting. This easel enables and empowers the artists. Without the right equipment the extraordinary talents of artist Mark may not have been discovered.

During the art classes Mark showed a passionate interest in History of Art, particularly the works of impressionist painter Édouard Manet whose colourful scenes of everyday modern life have captivated art lovers worldwide. Inspired by the his new found freedom in painting, Mark recently contributed some of his work to a DEMAND charity fundraiser to help raise funds for further equipment.

“When I paint, I feel free and excited. I think about beauty and I picture love. Some colours excite me. Green is very promising; it lifts my mood.”

Mark’s portrait of A Bar at the Folies-Bergeres is a remarkable display of his artistic skill and passion. It is wonderful to witness how much can be achieved through the help of DEMAND’s designs by offering a simple yet vital form of freedom. Mark’s work has recently sold to a private buyer for over £300. The enjoyment and ease that the DEMAND’s easels have given the artists at Birchwood has inspired many others people with disabilities to take up art. With the help of Mark, more funding is being raised to produce the artist’s easels.

Support Mark’s art

Those wishing to contribute to Mark’s easel fund can donate online at

Contact Birchwood if you would like to buy one of their artists’ 2013 calendars.