AN EXHIBITION of watercolour paintings by patients at Marie Curie Hospice can be seen at City Hall next week.

The event, from Monday September 10 to Friday September 14, will feature around 35 watercolour paintings of landscapes and seascapes. They have been produced in art classes headed by tutor Steve Davis.

Of those who take part in Steve’s classes, some may be in the hospice once a week for day therapy, while others are residents, being supported in advanced stages of illness. Steve adapts his approach to suit their needs.

“We’ve had some success with patients with motor neurone disease, with limited mobility. Rather than doing precise brushwork, we’ll have them putting colour washes down, dropping water in, taking colour out with tissues and so on. It’s very effective from a therapy point of view,” he says.

“It’s not necessarily about painting ‘doom and gloom’ feelings”, explains Steve, who has worked at Marie Curie’s Maudsley Street hospice for 21 years.

“It’s more about people forgetting their illness and getting wrapped up in something relaxing. They’re also learning a new talent or finding a skill they didn’t know they had and producing work of their own.”

Bradford’s Marie Curie Hospice on Maudsley Street supports and cares for patients through terminal illness. The purpose-built hospice offers expert care and support in friendly, welcoming surroundings.

”It’s amazing what effect painting has on the patient’s wellbeing, seeing their work displayed in gorgeous venues like this,” says Steve.

There will also be some paintings by the late Peter Sawaryn who passed away in the hospice. Peter lost his wife many years ago when the hospice was at Ardenlea, Ilkley and has fundraised for it ever since, raising thousands of pounds.

“Peter was diagnosed with a terminal illness himself and attended the Bradford Hospice as a day therapy patient and this is when he took to painting. He had said that when he painted he didn’t feel any pain, so it will be an honour to display some of his work,” says Amanda Warrant, the hospice’s community fundraiser for North and East Bradford.

The exhibition will be held in the grand setting of the banqueting Suite in City Hall, Bradford.

On the evening of Thursday September 13 Steve Davis will be demonstrating his skills. Bradford’s Lord Mayor Councillor Zafar Ali and Lady Mayoress Zeabunnessa Zafar will attend the demonstration, after which Steve’s painting will be auctioned.

“Steve is an art tutor with a particular approach to the classes,” says Amanda. “He believes that art is for everyone, and wants to help the patients who enjoy his classes find a sense of peace by getting lost in painting.”

Says Steve: ”I’ve got a thing about art being for everyone. What we do here at the hospice is about ordinary people who never really had a chance to indulge their artistic sensibilities. They’re ill, they’ve got more time on their hands maybe, they might be scared - it’s about trying to take them away from that, to get to another place and lose yourself in creating art.”

Adds Amanda: “Every time I pass our art therapy classes I get a feeling of such calmness and it’s so rewarding to see the patients loving what they are doing and producing some amazing work.

“Some of the paintings you would think had been painted by professionals, they are so good.

“I’ve just come up to my first year working at Marie Curie and feel so proud knowing that the money our supporters raise goes towards allowing our art therapy classes to continue.

“This exhibition will be so rewarding for our patients and their families to see. We would love as many people as possible to buy a ticket and see it.”

*For more information and tickets contact organiser Dave Harvey on 07849 101293/ or Amanda on 01274 386190.