Retiree discovers talent for art through Haslingden club

A retiree who has suffered a stroke discovered a love and talent for drawing by joining a local club.

Brian Smith first attended Darren Hornell’s art sessions at Jubilee Court in Helmshore, but that all came to an end when the pandemic hit.

However, he has since made the decision to return to his artistic ways, after learning that the sessions were taking place again, this time at the Veterans In Communities Center in Haslingden.

Since he started teaching again, his love and talent for drawing has grown enormously.

Mr Smith in action

Speaking of when Mr. Smith started attending classes, Mr. Hornell said: “At that stage he was drawing very slowly and the subject would always be the same, so he would end up with copies of the same drawing.

“Then 21 months ago he had a stroke and this affected his ability to communicate, and after Covid the sheltered accommodation was still closed to visitors so we couldn’t resume sessions.

“Brian met someone who attended our art classes at the VIC Center and he now comes every Tuesday and Friday.

“His illustrations have improved so much and now he copies cartoon characters freehand, first picking up a pencil and drawing the outlines, then flying a ballpoint pen across the page to outline the character and they are really good.

“He is very relaxed now. During the Jubilee Court hearings he was very shy and didn’t like to work with everyone. His wife says she has seen a huge difference as he never signed at home and now he can’t stop. ”

The drawings created by Mr Smith, 70, a former forklift driver, are now being distributed to adults and children attending the VIC art sessions for coloring.

Brian said: “I’ve always drawn, sort of. It helps me.”

Veteran Dave Joddrell said his partner Pauline Black is taking copies to Parkside, Olive House’s day center in Bacup, so residents can color in.

Darren plans to show the colored images at the VIC Center in Bury Road in the future.

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