When It Happens Panel Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
Brush strokes therapy to paint away stress
WITH a few simple brush strokes, Andrew Cherrie is transported to another world.
The former carpenter began painting to help him grieve following the death of his wife – and now wants to share the healing power of art with others.
Mr Cherrie, 73, has started a new pastels and watercolours group for Greater Leys and Blackbird Leys residents.
Armed with paints and paper he bought from scouring sales and a £20 donation from Hobbycraft, he chaired the group’s first planning meeting at the housing complex on Thursday.
He said: “I took up painting when I lost my wife Catherine four years ago. I still have my memories, but had suffered with grief.
“Painting was a way of just getting away from all that, and I hope that it can help other people too.
“It doesn’t have to be exact or perfect. You will see a lot of watercolours that aren’t exact. It’s just about the fun of it.”
During his early working life, Mr Cherrie was an apprentice carpenter and he said this helped him to draw perspectives.
He said: “I hope that people come along and give it a try.
“It helped me, and maybe it can help others who are bereaved or retired with nothing to do.
“The Potters Court common room goes spare a lot of the time so this will be a great way of keeping it in use.
Mr Cherrie was married to Catherine for 47 years before her death in 2009.
She was very ill and suffered from complications related to bladder cancer and bone cancer.
Mr Cherrie moved to Greater Leys in May to be nearer other members of his family.
He said the act of drawing flowers and wildlife was hugely soothing and enjoyable, adding: “Painting is like fishing in a way.
“I’m a fly-fisher too and this can be the same in that it just takes you away, and it’s a lot of fun.
“I don’t have the best mobility at the moment, so to take part in something gentle and relaxing is a great way to spend time.
“If it helps me, I hope it can help other people too.”
The group was started with the help of the Leys CDI Clockhouse Project charity, based in Long Ground, Greater Leys.
Mr Cherrie has basic gear to help get novice painters started but is looking for donations to continue and get the project running properly.
Spokeswoman for Leys CDI Clockhouse Sally Meachim said: “The benefits of painting for elderly people are widespread, and it is a very worthy activity that Andrew has taken up.
“We hope that Leys residents will embrace it and look to take part.”
- To donate or help out, call the Clockhouse on 01865 395908.