I AM an artist and retired art teacher, living in Bradford. For many years I have tried to promote children’s and young people’s art.

Now I have been given the opportunity to write a column for the T&A, specifically for this section of our community, giving them a platform to voice their opinions.

Often teenagers in particular are given bad press, for whatever reason, so I thought it was about time we gave them a chance to let us know what they think about a variety of subjects.

Ideally the topics will help us understand the mental health and wellbeing of young people. During lockdown a lot of emphasis has been on how the elderly have been coping. Rightly so, of course, but we mustn’t assume that all children are resilient or able to cope.

My motto has always been `Never assume’.

This column is focusing on art. However, future topics will be a mix of subjects, including the environment, children’s hopes for the future, local communities etc. The theme of this column, ‘Feelings for Art’, is not particularly for students interested in or good at art. My aim is to receive opinions from a wide range of young people, all abilities, all ages.

Speaking from experience, I know lack of self-confidence can easily be an obstacle in life, at any age, but particularly during the school years. At school during the 1950s I was a shy little girl. I plodded along quietly, passed my 11-plus to go to a grammar school and entered nervously into a quite strict all-girls school. I was envious of the girls who dared to be rebels. The ones who ‘bunked off’ to go to coffee bars in town and meet boys. The ones who sneaked a cig hiding behind the wall in the playground. The ones who came in the ‘wrong’ uniform by wearing a skirt above the knee or ‘unsuitable’ shoes.

All I wanted to do was to draw and paint and, like most schools in the early 60s, it was not taken too seriously. We were all expected to go to university, so I was told I would never ‘do anything’ with my life and art college would not do me any good. Whatever that meant.

Art college was the realisation that I really could be quite good at something. I now very rarely get nervous and am able to fulfil, or at least attempt to fulfil, whatever dreams I have.

I hope this column will encourage young people to think about and open up about their feelings. I realise this first article will probably be read by adults, such as teachers, parents and staff of schools, but hopefully everyone will grasp this opportunity to help children and young people have a voice.

The topic Feelings in Art is aimed at raising questions such as: Have you a painting, that, when you look at it, it brings out certain emotions or memories? What colours make you feel happy/sad etc and why? Do you draw or paint to feel calm and relaxed?

A big thank you to Fariha, Zenia and Lydia, all pupils I have worked with, for the letters (below) they have sent me, with their wonderful artwork - Fariha`s portrait painted in her favourite colours, Zenia`s first landscape on a canvas and Lydia for her first oil painting.

The topic of my next column will be ‘My Community’, raising questions such as: What is good/bad about where you live? What would you change and how? Any young people who would like to get involved can email me at red4paint@yahoo.co.uk

Dear Lynne, I painted this landscape when I was six years old. It was the first time I used a canvas. I was worried I would do a bad job, but when I got going, I really enjoyed sponging the trees. When I finished the painting I felt proud and happy, because it was my first try on a canvas.

Zenia Khan, Peel Park Primary

Dear Lynne, Certain paintings like the Mona Lisa make me feel like I’m in the countryside and that it’s like in the olden times. Drawing helps me calm down and lets me express my thoughts onto paper. I like warm colours such as orange, yellow and red because it reminds me of a warm cosy cottage and makes me feel nice. I drew this and coloured it in with oil pastels, we did this in school and it is a critical reference from Francoise Nielly. We have learned her techniques and how she paints her art pieces.

Fariha, Carlton Bolling

Dear Lynne, I have always had a passion for art. A couple of years ago I was having an identity crisis, but then I remembered the person who always believed in me. It shows how much a teacher can see in you and how much potential you have that you never knew about. One artist that caught my eye was Caravaggio. His artwork highlighted his dark past. The audience can depict each detail and compare it to real life. I have never used oil paint before but my art teacher built up my confidence to proceed with this painting because she knew the talent I had. After a week, I actually painted some part of Caravaggio’s piece.

It makes me understand how important it is to be able to support each other to bring out a talent you never knew about. You need to know that you are not alone and there is always someone out there to help you.

Lydia Wilby, Hanson