Local Man Creates Series Of Paintings To Aid Recovery From Debilitating Car Accident

A LOCAL man who turned to art after a debilitating car accident is being featured in the new commercial gallery space at The Beacon Museum, Whitehaven. 

Lifelong Whitehaven resident, David Hawkins, aged 56 was left with right sided hemiplegia, a condition that affects one side of the body, after a serious car accident in 1981 at the age of 20.

After the accident, David decided to get arty as a method of improving his health and wellbeing and without the use of his right side, learned to paint with his left hand. He accredits this to shaping his style and technique over the years.

Three years after the accident, David enhanced his newfound love for painting by going on to complete a fine art qualification at Carlisle Art College.

David, whose chosen medium is oils, acrylics and watercolours is displaying a series of paintings featuring West Cumbrian locations at the harbourside museum. David has also painted scenes of the central Lake District and London.

David said: “My work tries to capture a sense of place, time, colour and openness of the Cumbrian landscape – the place I call home.

“I use watercolour and oils to try to express the sensitive and intimate relationship that I feel for the county’s countryside and towns. And enter a space away from the trials of modern life and to free my spirit, to reflect and breathe a little.

“I am at the beginning of a journey, which I hope will allow me to explore the landscape further and my emotional response to it and to express that response, perhaps painting more en plein air. My interest in Impressionism and abstract landscape has given me great inspiration to develop my work in this way.

“I do want to be recognised as an artist but it’s not what drives me as I still am learning and would love to learn from new mentors. My focus is simply doing art, and I the pride I gain from sharing my art gives me a sense of achievement and self-worth.”

Alan Irwin, Business Development Manager at The Beacon Museum, said: “David has a very accessible style and the local scenes that he has depicted should immediately stand out to those from West Cumbria.

“Primarily it was the strength of his artwork that drew us to David, and his story only made us more determined to provide him with a platform where more people could see and buy his art.”

Statistics recently gathered by the Arts Council England show that participation in the arts for the purposes of recuperation has increased massively in recent years. The study also showed that public bodies such as libraries and museums are increasingly becoming involved with health and wellbeing projects to use their resources in an entirely new way, and to impact on people’s lives within their communities.

The collection of artwork will be on sale in a new commercial gallery space at the museum, and will be available to view and purchase until April.

For more information contact The Beacon Museum on 01946 592302 or visit www.thebeacon-whitehaven.co.uk.

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