Tag Archives: Birchwood

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.

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.