Tag Archives: art

Disability History Month 2017

To mark Disability History Month this year we’re looking at famous disabled artists who used their art to express What I Need To Say

Michelangelo

“If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all.”

Five years before his death Michelangelo was diagnosed with kidney stones. As a result, art historians have often focused on that and the possible repetition of kidney shaped designs in his work.

However, more recently, the debate has been around whether he also had gout or arthritis and if his work as a painter and sculptor exacerbated or eased his condition.  Portraits of the artist especially those showing his hands have been pored over to determine which condition he had. Michelangelo also included himself as an old man in several of his later works which has provided additional evidence for this debate.

Pietà bandini by Michaelangelo
Pietà bandini by Michaelangelo

Francisco Goya

“Fantasy abandoned by reason produces impossible monsters.”

Goya is often referred to as the last of the old masters and the first of the moderns. In 1793 he developed a severe but unidentified illness which left him deaf. After this, his work  – which had been characterised by portraits of society figures and tapestry designs – began to reflect a darker more pessimistic outlook. His portraits  came close to caricatures reflecting what Goya really saw rather than how his subjects might want to see themselves.

For a period towards the end of his life he lived an almost hermit-like existence in a farmhouse outside Madrid where he produced the famous Black Paintings – dark, sometimes gruesome murals painted in oils directly on the walls.

Francisco de Goya - Tio Paquete (oil on canvas, c.1820)
Francisco de Goya – Tio Paquete (oil on canvas, c.1820)

Frida Kahlo

“Feet, what do I need them for
If I have wings to fly.”

Frida Kahlo is probably best known as a feminist icon, but did you know she was also a disabled person? Kahlo was born with spina bifida, and after contracting Polio as a child was left with her right leg being thinner than her left. Following a severe car accident, Kahlo began painting self-portraits which depicted her impairments in a fearless way.

Frida Kahlo's 1939 oil painting “The Two Fridas.”
Frida Kahlo’s 1939 oil painting “The Two Fridas.”

Paul Klee

“A line is a dot that went for a walk.”

Klee was a German artist active during the first half of the twentieth century. As a child he had been a musical prodigy but as an adult his focused on his art. His theories and writing on the theory of colour were very influential and he taught with Kandinsky at the Bauhaus School of art.  His own work reflected a dry sense of humour as well as a sometimes childlike perspective.

One of his most productive periods was during the early 1930s but at the same time he was persecuted by the Nazis and forced to leave German. It was also during this time that he started to show the symptoms of scleroderma. It limited his output for a time until he modified his painting style to create more bold designs with his alternating moods making the paintings lighter or darker.

Klee’s scleroderma was only diagnosed ten years after his death in 1940 but World Scleroderma day is now on June 29, the date of his death.

Paul Klee Halme 1938
Paul Klee Halme 1938

Henri Matisse

“I have always tried to hide my efforts and wished my works to have the light joyousness of springtime, which never lets anyone suspect the labors it has cost me….”

Henri Matisse was one of the most innovative painters of the twentieth century. In 1941 he almost died from cancer, and after three months in recovery he became a wheelchair user. Matisse credits this period of his life with reenergizing him, even referring to the last 14 years of his life as “une seconde vie,” or his second life.

He adapted his artistic methods to suit life in a wheelchair, making artwork out of coloured paper shapes. You may have seen this work in the exhibition The Cut-Outs which was featured in the Tate Modern in 2014.

La Perruche et la Sirene by Henri Matisse 1952
La Perruche et la Sirene by Henri Matisse 1952

Yinka Shonibare, MBE

“Your head goes crazy if you pursue what ifs.”

Yinka Shonibare is a British conceptual artist with Transverse Myelitis, which paralyses one side of his body. Shonibare uses assistants to make work under his direction, and is famed for exploring cultural identity, colonialism and post-colonialism within the contemporary context of globalisation.

In 2004 he was shortlisted for the Turner Prize for his Double Dutch exhibition, and was awarded an MBE in the same year.

Nelson's Ship in a Bottle by Yinka Shonibare
Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle by Yinka Shonibare

Stephen Wiltshire

“Do the best you can and never stop.”

Wiltshire is an autistic savant and world renowned architectural artist. He learned to speak at nine, and by the age of ten began drawing detailed sketches of London landmarks. Recently, Wilshire created an eighteen foot wide panoramic landscape of the skyline of New York City, after only viewing it once during a twenty minute helicopter ride. The Stephen Wiltshire gallery can be found in Pall Mall, London.

Venice by Stephen Wiltshire MBE
Venice by Stephen Wiltshire MBE

Learn more about our What I need to Say campaign 

“Crocheting on the tube has pushed me out of my comfort zone”

Elisabeth Ward works in content marketing, and has an upper limb congenital amputation. Despite some challenging roadblocks, Lis likes to be creative and keeps a blog of her successes, difficulties, and more

I couldn’t find my craft

I’ve lived with my disability for 25 years. I’ve grown up facing challenges, finding my way around things so that I’m not excluded. I’ve always been a creative person. I enjoy drawing but art classes where I had to actually make or build something were just depressing, fiddly and frustrating. Everything I made looked like a child’s creation!

This stopped me making crafts for ten years – why put myself through that disappointment and frustration, because I lacked a second hand?

A knitting obsession was born

However, jealousy, stubbornness and determination threw this reluctance to the wind when I saw a friend become a knitter. One minute she had a ball of yarn and the next it was a cutePhoto showing one foreshortened arm holding a knitting needle and pink yarn strawberry hat. I wanted to be able to do that. I wanted to be able to start with materials, and end up with something that I could proudly say I made.

But I watched her knit and I couldn’t see a way around it. Two hands seemed to be essential. I looked at some YouTube videos, even checked out one-handed knitting videos (there weren’t many), and decided to just get some needles and yarn – I’d work out a system as I go. I found that holding a knitting needle under my arm and wrapping the yarn around my amputee arm was sufficient enough to allow me to knit with my left. From that point I was addicted. I felt confident and good, in my mind I had just achieved the impossible and it felt amazing.

Therapeutic benefits

Aside from the sense of achievement and excitement, I found knitting incredibly relaxing and therapeutic. I often worry about stuff I can’t control, from work stress to disability stress to general life stress, I feel like I’m juggling so many balls and with no right hand to catch them, I have to scramble around to keep them up in the air flying in all directions. Well, that’s how it feels anyway.

However, the repColourful wool knitted into s scarfetitive motion of knitting is one of the most relaxing things I have discovered – the familiar movement is comforting and calming in a way that is hard to describe. I’ve had days where unwinding from a hard day has seemed  impossible until I’ve picked up my knitting needles. I think that’s why it is so addictive – having your hands, or hand, busy, can help stress, anxiety, even sadness and anger leave your body. It’s almost magical.

Then came crochet

Once I mastered knitting, I had the bug and wanted to try crochet. This seemed simpler, one-handed even, as most of the yarn work was left-handed. It was trickier than I anticipated and very fiddly – I had to buy ergonomic hooks so that I could hold the hook between my amputee hand and my leg.

A selection of crochet squares in different coloursCrochet required perseverance and eventually I grasped the mechanics with my hook wedged between hand and leg. I sometimes find myself doing things a harder way because I haven’t taken a step back, looked around and thought ‘what can I use to make this easier?’. I’m usually too focused trying to do things as though I have two hands. But sometimes you just need a bit of help, even if it’s from an inanimate object. So I realised after about a week of practising that the ‘strap’ I use to hold my knife while eating would work well to hold my crochet hook.

I was able to speed up dramatically and it almost felt as though I had two hands.  My second craft addiction was born and I now live in a house overflowing with yarn!

It’s given me newfound confidence

I crochet on the tube as it’s easy to stop and start on the go, so I make a granny square during my commute. This takes every ounce of self-confidence I have. I don’t like people staring at my hand. I know it’s human nature but it makes me feel less human, like my hand defines me in their eyes, and I’m seen only as disabled.

A crochet circle with colourful patterns on itWhen I crochet, it’s different. People still look and stare, but now they see that despite missing a hand, I am capable of creating something beautiful, that I am many things and not defined by disability. It may just be in my head, but I feel that those watching me crochet one-handed see more than just a disabled girl. I also figure that the more people see it the less they will be shocked by it, helping to break the taboo.

Before, I would hide so that I wouldn’t be judged on my hand rather than my personality, I would hide so others wouldn’t feel uncomfortable or alter their behaviour. But crocheting on the tube has pushed me outside my comfort zone, helped me to not hide my hand when I leave the house.

Sense of achievement

Creating crafts has boosted my confidence, reduced my stress, helped me to find a peace within myself and has given me a pride and sense of achievement that I’ve never really had before. It’s helped me truly believe that I’m not defined by disability, I am defined by me, by my individuality, by my determination, by my weaknesses – I am a whole, not made up of just one but many parts.

My life has transformed and I hope to help other disabled people find their therapy in learning to knit or crochet, sharing my methods so they can find theirs – are you up for the challenge?

Do you have any creative hobbies that you find therapeutic? Elizabeth is on our online community now and would love to hear from you. You can also talk to her on Twitter @ElisabethWard04

“Oliver sees details the rest of us miss” – a young photographer’s story

Oliver is a young nature photographer who happens to have Down’s syndrome. Here, Oliver and his mum tell us what photography means to him.  

Q&A with Oliver

Scope: When did you first start taking photos?

Oliver: I was little – I was about 10 years old.

Scope: What is it about nature that you find so interesting?

Oliver: I like wildlife, I like birds and I like the landscape and taking pictures of the trees. I like water and I like going for walks out into ‘the wild’ and the countryside.

Close up photo of an eagleScope: Do you have a favourite animal?

Oliver: I like birds of prey and I really like long tailed tits.

Scope: How did you feel when you sold your first photograph?

Oliver: We had an exhibition and lots of people came to see my pictures. I gave a speech and we sold lots of pictures and with the money I bought a Chinese takeaway for us on the Sunday night when we finished, and bought a holiday in a cottage in Wales in the middle of nowhere! I’m very proud when I have an exhibition.

Scope: If you weren’t taking photos in your spare time, what do you think you’d be doing?

Oliver: I play football and snooker, and I don’t do so much skateboarding so much anymore. I read my books and my magazines and I like to watch TV. I still do bird-watching and walking in the countryside even if I don’t take pictures with my camera.green forest and woodland

Scope: What would you say to other young disabled people who don’t have much confidence?

Oliver: Just do it. Just go out there and do what you want!

Scope: How have your followers on Facebook and the publicity around your photos made you feel?

Oliver: It’s good. I like it. My fans say ‘that’s amazing!’ about my pictures and write messages to me. Yeah it’s good. I like it when we get more places to put on the map!

Wendy, Oliver’s mum

Oliver was born with Down’s syndrome, and severe cardiac issues requiring open heart surgery at three months old. During his early years he was also diagnosed with severe hypotonia (poor muscle tone) and verbal dyspraxia. I was told he wouldn’t be able to take part in sporting activities, and that his speech would probably never reach a point where he could be understood by an unfamiliar lA baby photograph of Oliver with blonde hairistener. However with belief, determination and input from myself and Oliver’s big sister Anna (who was eight when he was born)  by the time he was eight years old he was skateboarding as well as playing football, basketball and snooker, and at 10 years old was asking perfectly clearly for a Subaru Imprezza with a spoiler on the back and a Bugatti Veyron for his birthday!

Oliver is testament to the fact that anyone can achieve and prove negative predictions to be wrong, when they are surrounded by optimism, belief, determination and encouragement. My partner Mike has been best mate and stepfather all rolled into one for Oliver – they both love wildlife, the countryside, and bird-watching. Mike came into Oliver’s life when Oliver was nine. When Oliver was about 10 or 11 he started to want to take photos “like Mike”.

A close-up of some green ivy leavesMike’s targeted tuition and guidance has helped Oliver to use the world of photography as both a tool for him to record what he sees in the way he sees it, and as something which brings Oliver a great sense of pride and self-esteem. He takes pictures of everything and anything which ‘catches’ his eye and will spend as much time and effort on a torn and ragged leaf or some broken sticks as he will on a beautiful bloom. He loves the light catching anything and particularly water. He will spend ages capturing splashes at the bottom of a waterfall or in a rocky river. Birds are probably his greatest love and his knowledge and ability to identify any bird at a glance and even from a distance is astounding. Oliver takes pictures of things other people walk past because he notices the detail the rest of us miss. He sees beauty where we do not, and to a certain extent his having Down’s syndrome ‘releases’ him from the ‘rules’ and expectations of what is perceived to be worthy of a picture, which the rest of us adhere to without even realising. Oliver makes weeds look brilliant!

He is a truly inspirational young man who loves life and loves what he does, and seeks to be a ‘professional’ earning a proper income from his talent. His achievements are changing and improving the expectations A robin standing on some grassof others, championing disability, and helping to banish outdated and negative stereotypes associated with Down’s syndrome. We receive so many heart-warming messages from parents of disabled children explaining the huge difference Oliver has made to their lives by restoring hopes, dreams and aspirations for their children. He illustrates just how important it is that we value and enjoy diversity in society, and spreads the news that ‘difference’ can be something to be truly celebrated.

Oliver was recently featured in a lovely film piece on the One Show, and on BBC news worldwide. He’s currently crowdfunding for his first coffee table book to be published – so get in quick and bag yourself a copy of the first edition. 

You can visit Oliver’s website to see and purchase his photographs as prints or greetings cards. You can also like Oliver’s Facebook page and get up to date news from his sightings in your newsfeed. Feeling inspired?

Orchard Manor electric art exhibition

The young people (aged 18-26) at Orchard Manor Transition Service in Cambridgeshire will be exhibiting their UV art work from 4-14 July (Thursday to Sundays) in the Tavern Gallery, Meldreth.

Orchard Manor artists
Orchard Manor artists

This is a first for Orchard Manor and a real opportunity to let the community see some of the residents’ inspiring art work.

Art is used at Orchard Manor as a basis for skills development, providing an excellent tool for self-expression and choice-making. The young people have been involved in a variety of projects including set design (for films created in drama sessions), planning and creating a sculpture trail and making cards and bags for fundraising.

Over the last few months, the young people have been involved in UV art sessions. The studio has been fitted with Ultra-Violet lighting, which is especially beneficial for visually impaired people.

The artists are encouraged to experiment using UV paints. This includes people walking on, wheeling over, throwing objects at and pulling string along the surface of a large sheet of canvas placed on the floor.

The young people also looked at using different methods to create a painting and used large chunks of ice, which they rubbed salt into and made holes in before pouring paint over and leaving out in the sun. The finished pictures are beautiful marble-effect paintings like the one below.

UV artwork
UV artwork

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 http://www.justgiving.com/Markseasel

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

Orchard Manor artists have UV art exhibition in Cambridge

Scope Uv artwork

Young disabled people (aged 18-26) at Orchard Manor Transition Service, in Meldreth South Cambridgeshire, are currently exhibiting their Ultra-Violet (UV) artwork through Changing Spaces in Cambridge (6-7 Sussex Street) from Monday 19 November until Monday 3 December.

Inspiring artwork

This is a first for Orchard Manor, a vision of Art Skills Tutor Vicky Fowler, and a real opportunity to let the community see some of the residents’ inspiring artwork.

Art is used at Orchard Manor as a basis for skills development, providing an excellent tool for self-expression and choice-making. The young people have been involved in a variety of projects including set design (for films created in drama sessions), planning and creating a sculpture trail and making cards and bags for fundraising.

Over the last few months the young people have been involved in UV art sessions. The studio has been fitted with Ultra-Violet lighting and work undertaken with various engaging materials, under the colour enhancing light. The UV lighting is especially beneficial for visually impaired people. One of the pieces created has been the large mural. The artists were encouraged to experiment with mark making using UV paints. This included people walking on, wheeling over, throwing objects at and pulling string along the surface of a large sheet of canvas which was placed on the floor. They also looked at using different methods to create a painting and used large chunks of ice, which they rubbed salt into and made holes in before pouring paint over and leaving out in the sun. The finished pictures are the beautiful marble-effect paintings.

Come to our open afternoon

We are holding an open afternoon on Thursday 22 November from 2 – 4 pm and invite family and friends to join us in viewing the inspiring works of art. Parking is close by at the Park Street Arcade car parks. Sussex Street is located just a few minutes walk from the city centre market which runs all week long. Combined with some Christmas shopping this is an ideal opportunity you won’t want to miss. We hope to see you there.

GASP: Emotional and thought-provoking theatre

Guest post from Ben Miles – Creative Director at Full House

This year’s production, GASP, was the sixth collaboration between Bedford-based professional theatre company Full House and young disabled actors from Bedford and District Cerebral Palsy Society.

BedFringe theatre festival

But this year was very different. Instead of a light-hearted, 25-strong cast on a summer school, eight young disabled people wanted to express their creativity and get their message across in a gritty and emotional studio piece. The young people leave school this year and move on to adult services so emotions were running high. The cast asked themselves questions about what was next? What they hoped for the future? What were their fears and what excites them about a bright new future outside of school?

Over a period of eight weeks the young people and the team from Full House came together to explore new ideas, express emotions and have new experiences with the aim of creating a contemporary performance piece. The final production was performed at two venues. The Hat Factory in Luton and Bedford’s The Place Theatre as part of the BedFringe theatre festival in July.

Martial arts, physical theatre and movement

The performance used media, martial arts, fantasy storytelling, physical theatre and movement to tell the story of a fish breaking free from its bowl and journeying to the ocean. The young people were encouraged to explore exactly what they wanted to express and this lead to a wonderfully varied and visually stimulating piece of theatre. Elements of performance ranged from: a rapper performing urban music written by a cast member, a scene set in a pub in which three young men expressed their wish to let loose and make their own choices, an abstract fantasy of a young girl who dreamed of becoming Snow White and a very brave young actor who chose to express to camera how he felt about his uncertain future and his love of his family. All this was punctuated by three dramatic sequences of African drumming. The beautiful, simple set and subtle lighting contributed wonderfully to the thought-provoking and abstract world that the cast created.

Audiences were staggered by their achievements. The young cast did a wonderful job. Some of them had never performed before and had to over come severe stage fright, others were simply overwhelmed when at last their voices were heard and their opinions expressed through art and music.

Review of GASP

Guest post from Judy Riley – Full House trustee and local arts journalist at the Beds on Sunday

GASP drummer

I just wanted to share my thoughts on this show. I went to see GASP in Bedford at 12.30pm on Saturday, July 21 on what was then the hottest day of the year so far.

I took my husband, my sister and her husband along. While my husband knew what kind of experience he would be likely to have, having seen Cirque Fantastique last year, my sister and her husband had only a sketchy idea of what was in store.

Whereas the impressions that I was left with of Cirque Fantastique were of fun, exuberance, positivity and brightness, at this performance of GASP, in the darkened space of The Place theatre, the atmosphere was altogether more focused and profound. Yes, there was fun; yes, there was energy but it was an experience that went much deeper into the souls and deepest feelings of the young performers involved. It was one of the most moving shows I have ever seen – and I’ve seen a few! The actors were given the opportunity to explore their hopes, fears and dreams in a challenging way but it never felt as though they were being patronised or marginalised. The filmed excerpts were incredibly powerful and the drumming exciting and liberating.

Bedford and District Cerebral Palsy Society actors

As for the input of the Full House practitioners I can honestly say that it was amazing. The sensitivity that Ben, Harriet and the other actor/musicians – displayed was exceptional. I will never forget Ben, through his eyes and his spirit, wordlessly encouraging young actors with massive speech problems to articulate their innermost thoughts. Moving soundlessly across the stage, each member of the team guided the Bedford and District Cerebral Palsy Society actors purposely but with utter thoughtfulness through the action. The show was uplifting and wholly enlightening; anyone who saw it will have been touched by something very special.

I am known for being reduced to a soggy pool of tears at the slightest provocation so it comes as no surprise that I was reduced to racking great sobs within minutes of the show starting but Chris had to wipe his eyes at the curtain call, as did my brother-in-law – and my sister got through at least a handy pack of Kleenex too.

GASP was an inspirational show – not only, I’m sure, for those young actors who took part – but also for every member of that audience.

Congratulations Full House: for me, it’s what being involved with the company is all about…

Extract from GASP

GASP was the sixth collaboration between Bedford-based professional theatre company Full House and young disabled actors from Bedford and District Cerebral Palsy Society.

Young disabled actor

Here is a short extract from their work:

GASP

Through rounded glass and waters blue

You see me and I see you.

You look in and I look out

You tap the glass, I dart about.

And swim and swim in circles here

Familiar waters safe and near

But on occasions I dare to dream

Of a babbling brook, a bubbling stream

Where beyond your watch I’d be

But might learn out there to swim free.

New waters deep and dark to swim

Where a new kind of journey might begin

New places, different possibilities

The rushing river, the endless seas

And though I am safe here my bowl inside

That big wide world from which I hide

If I am to swim the way I could

I must leave this sphere of glass for good

So one day soon the time will be

When you will have to set me free

And finally from your gentle grasp

I’ll wriggle free, I’ll jump and gasp…

Read a review of GASP.

Birchwood artists

Disabled artist

The Birchwood Painters are a group of disabled artists living at Scope’s residential service in a semi-rural location in Chesham. Their work is being showcased at the Bucks Open Studios 2013 alongside the work of other artists and makers in the county.

Bucks Open Studios

Birchwood Painters Open Studios are an opportunity to make public the talent of the residents and acknowledge them in a wider arts community. The goal is to carry on producing extraordinary work and place the work of these artists in a contemporary arts context.

Art classes

Four years ago, community artist Anita Osborne was invited to come to Scope’sBirchwood service and give an art class. In exploratory art sessions, the residents tried various painting techniques. The first year was characterised by introducing art materials that best suited the needs of the artists. For that, the Jonny Rhythm Foundation has been supporting the group with funding initiatives in covering their art materials as well as other fees that have allowed the group to be part of a wider arts community.

“With the painting came this extraordinary outpouring of themselves and they have just been amazing,” Anita Osborne

The right equipment

There have been other institutions that have contributed to this initiative with equipment. The prototype easel, in Tina’s picture above, is fantastic piece of kit that has improved the access that the artists have to the canvases. Tina was drawing with it lying across her tummy so that she could get to every corner. Another great thing is that with this easel the artist can still have 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. With the right equipment in place there are no boundaries.

The art sessions

Disabled painter

At the moment, there are three people that facilitate the weekly sessions. Their role is to run around mixing paint, washing brushes while the artists are doing entirely individual self-motivated focused painting. Brian is one of the most recent residents to join the group. He has been with the service since he was 18 and he just turned 80. He didn’t want to paint, so he requested some pencils. His first piece, a drawing that he produced in his room, took him eight weeks to complete. Another artist, Mark Urwin, has developed a great interest in History of Art. The patron from the Jonny Rhythm foundation, an artist herself, has been providing him with tutoring sessions on Tuesday afternoons.