Parkinson's Disease and me

My blog about my experience with Parkinson's Disease

Is there an artist in there?

IMG_1353I’ve been watching the Big Painting Challenge on BBC and I feel inspired to have a go myself and see if, like some other sufferers, my Parkinson’s medicine has helped reveal my untapped artistic abilities. I have read that this phenomenon seems to be related to dopamine-enhancing medication.

I’ve always liked arts and crafts. I’ve even won a prize in a Brook Bond tea competition many years ago. It was a book by Adrian Hill who was then doing a painting programme on TV called ‘Sketch Club’ – that shows how long ago it was! Interestingly I have just read that it was Hill who apparently coined the term “art therapy” in 1942. He found that art seemed to help to take a patient’s mind off their illness or injuries and to release their mental distress. He worked to promote art therapy, eventually becoming president of the British Association of Art Therapists, founded in 1964.

I studied art at A level at school but it was not a subject they encouraged. A handful of us started but it was only me who finished the course which really was boring and disappointing. My memories are now very distant but the only paint medium I remember using was water colour. I remember doing endless messy charcoal drawings and lots of calligraphy. It was in the days when teachers were allowed to smoke in schools and the art teacher, a grumpy old woman, would sit in a yellow, smoky haze as she read the paper in front of a two bar electric fire. Both of us would have one eye on the clock!

I thought I’d have a go at acrylic painting now because the TV programme kept saying that it was a much more “forgiving medium” and I certainly need that. I’ve never fancied acrylics before mainly because it makes me think of nylon and polyester clothes. But now I’m the proud owner of a beautiful boxed set of paint, pencils, brushes another artistic delights’ bought on a recent UK trip together with two ‘Teach Yourself’ books from a charity shop. Nowadays there is so much useful advice, tutorials and ideas freely available on the Internet that I feel raring to go!

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