The levels of concentration and the development of skills amongst the residents inspires everyone. The encouragement of the teaching, discussion and laughter during the classes creates a lovely atmosphere that I know both the residents and the staff enjoy as the conversations start before the class and continue afterwards. It has been especially interesting for staff to consider how residents look at things and seeing non-verbal residents expressing themselves through line and colour. Having an activity that is so involving, whilst also creating opportunities for interaction on so many levels, is a joy.
Lifestyles Manager, Hastings Court
“The sessions are more than just an activity for those with dementia, they also provide unique and significant support for the carers. Which makes us better carers.”
Elizabeth’s husband and carer
This is a very interesting and worthy project.
Paul M. Matthews, OBE, MD, DPhil, FRCP, FMedSci
Head, Division of Brain Sciences, Department of Medicine and Centre for Neurotechnology, Imperial College London
The first impression is one of incredible spontaneity, a lack of inhibition and a sense of sophistication evocative of abstract and expressionist art. The work is almost fugitive as neurotic lines sketch out implied forms, crossing the bridge between abstraction and formal representation.
While the works have deep sense of integrity they are hard won, even if they are thin. This comes from a highly subjective approach that lacks a discriminative and reflective criticality. To their credit some drawers have tried to reconsider and redefine their work objectively in a critical and objective way, making it a ‘considered’ activity, and that makes the work more easily accessible and readable.
Picasso said it took him ‘a life time to learn to paint like a child’, and this work has a child like innocence and honesty about it. While Picasso refers to casting off formal training, which is not the case here, these spontaneous works summon something unique to do with the nature of self. The biblical expression, ‘once a man twice a child’, also comes to mind and these drawers, with much adult experience perhaps fading in and out now, illustrate a magic that gives this show a sophisticated quality.
This project has value for the individuals, as a non-passive activity, and it has value for the community; it is beautiful art to be appreciated, possessing a sense of many selves and voices.
Senior Lecturer, Art and Design
This is such a worthwhile project, and should be available to all those with dementia.
Kenneth Smith’s daughter
Really interesting insight into the difficulties of visual perception and how the activity of drawing can calm and focus.
Former Art Teacher, Husband and Carer
Residents enjoy the calm peaceful atmosphere the activity creates, the engagement has been both moving and enlightening to see. Our residents are able to follow the flowing movements from the life model and produce some wonderful creative and therapeutic pieces. We are hugely grateful to Drawing Life for coming to Coast Care Homes.
Coast Care Homes
Drawing Life’s expertise provides an atmosphere which is relaxed, happy and gives the residents a sense of purpose. It should be heart-breaking, but actually this strange role reversal is joyous, it gave me an opportunity to share mother and daughter activity in a way we haven’t since my childhood – only this time I’m the responsible adult.
Celia Mortimer’s daughter
Familiarity makes things easier, even if someone can’t explicitly remember having done the task before, and if they are doing something like this on regular basis, I do think it would genuinely help.
Being able to sustain attention and concentrate because people are in this setting, the task of drawing can be done for longer. With encouragement from the teachers and sitting with their peers, you can see people wanting to try, making the effort. So I think to have regular classes has a positive effect.
Without having explicit memory of what was done the week before, people have been affected and the way they work has changed. The work has improved and everyone feels more confident – that in itself is quite an achievement.
These classes are much more valuable than doing something passive, such as sitting and watching television, or watching something happen in front of you. It’s the engagement, it’s the tactile nature of things, being able to feel what you’re doing – it has a lot of value.
Dr Paresh Malhotra
Behavioural Neurologist, Charing Cross Hospital
Mum said it’s so much fun. It’s giving her confidence to draw more loosely, rather than so precisely. It’s great to see her so happy.
Seeing how altered perceptions of the world are channelled through the activity of drawing has challenged me to reconsider many of my own responses and reactions when making work.
Drawing Life tutor and artist