My visitors today

Monday 20 April 2015

Stroke group - taking things into their own hands

Painting together

At our last session before Christmas one of my stroke-group clients asked me whether he could bring his birthday present along to the next block in the New Year. The present was a painting class by artist Bob Ross with all the materials. My client asked me whether I could buy some canvases, one for each of the group members.

I readily agreed and had the canvases ready for the next sessions. I also dug out the lovely easels that I had bought with a donation for art materials received a few years ago and I also reached deep into the arty cupboard for the best paint brushes.

This was not the first time that I had helped a group of people paint along to Bob Ross whose painting techniques and art classes on television were very popular in the 1990s. It is over fifteen years ago that my colleagues and I and a few adult clients propped the plinths up on end, tied our canvases to them and spent a wonderful evening painting along to a Bob Ross video. I am sure that I could uncover the very similar but at the same time quite different set of paintings that we produced.

When my stroke group arrived for the first sessions of 2015 there was my client with his case of paints, video, brushes and all the paraphernalia needed for painting and to his and my delight the whole group was raring to go. I was surprised because we had two new clients, but they too were up to the challenge!

This project was a huge step forward from the painting projects that I did with the stroke groups when I was training at the Pető Institute. This was what the clients called ‘real art’.

They were all incredibly proud of the results that turned out much more varied than my previous attempts at Bob Ross classes many years ago. Most of the present stroke group have artistic leanings, sew and paint and create at home, and I think they found it difficult to follow exactly what Bob Ross told us to do, they wanted to put a bit of themselves into the paintings, which they certainly did.

This was everyone's favourite
It is lovely to see that the clients in the stroke group are beginning to bring their own projects into the group, to try out with their fellow group members, in the same way that the school children in the afternoon group do. The children have just organized a Star Wars fan-club visit, they cook together, have make-up sessions together and we are creating a garden. Each project is motivated by a special interest of one or two individuals.

The InBestForm inclusive disabled/non-disabled group for elderly clients was designed so that it could carry on in a similar way to the projects that I have described above: self-motivated and planned projects that the clients themselves can organise. 

As you can probably guess it was not only the adults who wanted to paint along with Bob Ross, once the school children got a hint of what was going on (the canvases where standing on their easels drying when they arrived) they wanted to have a go too.

This was the result of a few hours work by our 9-year-old boy with muscular dystrophy, it is my favourite -


Bob Ross -

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