My stoma and lockdown – Drawing it out

24 August, 2020

Brian tells us about the positive impact our Active Ostomates: at Home virtual art sessions have had on him.

“There are so many things I can’t do that I’ve always wanted to. I can’t swim, although I’ve always lived by the sea.  I can’t mimic accents. I don’t understand  chemistry. Or physics. Definitely not physics. There’s  been one other  thing that I’ve never been able to do, and that is paint or draw.

So when Colostomy UK advertised their online drawing classes I didn’t think that it  was for me. But then I spoke to a good friend who pointed out that classes are generally for people who think they can’t do something but who want to try and see. So I signed up.

And boy, I’m glad that I did. It’s been absolutely fantastic. A great experience.

There have been so many great things about it. Top of them all is the amazingly skilful tutor, Louise Bradley. She set us out with a number of warm up exercises to get used to the feel of the paper and the pencil (Oh! That’s another great thing about it. The only tools that are essential are a pencil or biro, an eraser and A4 paper. We did do one session on charcoal drawing, but again a pencil would have worked).

One of the things Louise taught was to try not to look at the paper when you’re drawing. Just let it be fluid. That’s hard. But the more I tried the easier it got.  There was no pressure whatsoever to share your masterpieces if you didn’t want to.

We started out drawing plants, or bits of plants. Slowly Louise brought more techniques for us to try  out. How to use your pencil to measure. How to work out perspective; details like shading, cross hatching ( I know, sounds like I know what I’m talking about, eh?) and the use of shadows.

The course was for four sessions initially. But then a further course was commissioned by Colostomy UK. This one on faces. We started off with pictures of upside down faces. To get us to think of the shapes, rather than to merely attempt to copy. Absolutely fascinating.

In these classes I feel that I’ve come across a mystery Hebridean island that few people know about. It’s been adventurous and fun, especially during this whole Covid thing. It’s been nice to talk to friends, old and new. I still wouldn’t say I’m very good at drawing. But that’s not the point. The point is about expression and believing that I have a right to try.

And the other good news? Colostomy UK have commissioned a third series of lessons. They really have been very good to us. Very sensitive and kind. Thank you to them all and to our wonderful, skilful, encouraging and patient tutor Louise Bradley. I’m lining up my pencils, ready for the next course”.

To find out more about Active Ostomates: at Home and how to sign up for our virtual art, mindfulness, or chair yoga classes visit https://www.colostomyuk.org/active-ostomates/


Stay in touch