Bluebird Care create cards from artwork painted by their customers
At Bluebird Care, we recognise the importance of the arts in the lives of older people. Conny is an artist and customer, she tells us about her husband and her travels in a campervan.
Sitting on a comfy sofa in a little terraced house in Budleigh Salterton surrounded by pictures of places and flowers and African artefacts, 90-year-old Conny welcomes me into her home. Conny moved to Budleigh in the early ’90s and spent 20 years of her life painting scenes in Devon and beyond with her husband.
“I didn’t start painting until we came to live in Budleigh 30 years ago. My husband has always painted, but I used to draw for the children. One day my friend Janet said ‘I’d like to go and have art classes’ so we went together. I went for two years to the classes, and I’ve been painting ever since”.
Conny tells me that most of the art on the walls is hers or her husbands. The couple belonged to the Budleigh Salterton art club for many years, she says proudly; “I’ve sold about 200 paintings, and my husband sold about 400 - he’s a much better painter than I am”. To which, I, of course, I disagree!
“My husband painted all his life; he was an art teacher. I learnt from him by watching what he did.”
After losing her husband a year ago, Conny remembers their experiences together through his art; “We used to go to Topsham to sketch, and if we weren’t out sketching we’d be in our studio's painting” she tells me. When I ask her which are her favourite paintings by her husband, she shares stories of camper van travels to Southern France to replicate Van Gogh’s ‘Bridge at Arles’, to Spain and Lyme Regis. Scenes of which hang in frames on the wall caught in time, encapsulating the special memories.
Conny landed in Devon when she and her husband returned from living in Zimbabwe for many years. They eventually picked Budleigh to settle: “We were touring around in our campervan looking for somewhere to live, there were two houses for sale in the road, and we chose this one.”
Conny has kindly agreed for some of her work including scenes from Topsham and Lympstone to be immortalised by Bluebird Care as greetings cards.
According to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing’s report: Creative Health: The Arts for Health and Wellbeing “The arts can help to keep us well, aid our recovery and support longer lives better lived.
• The arts can help meet major challenges facing health and social care: ageing, long-term conditions, loneliness and mental health.
• The arts can help save money in the health service and social care.”
Budleigh Salterton Art Club is still going strong, learn more here.