A local dementia care home is the latest recipient of works by a local artist looking to spread some happiness via his images despite the current restrictions on normal living.
The walls of a specialist care suite in Camelot Care’s Avalon Nursing Home in Bridgwater, now feature colourful images of butterflies created by Gary Heritage especially for the pleasure of the residents with dementia who live there.
The care home gift follows a donation by Gary earlier this month of £75 to Musgrove Park Hospital which came from the sale of a striking ‘blue rose’ portrait, inspired by the work of the NHS during the Coronavirus. The work now hangs in the hospital foyer.
A self-taught artist Gary Heritage, 48, is Bridgwater born and bred, and an exhibition of his work over four decades will take place in the town this Sunday (2 August) at The New Foresters on St John Street.
Gary learned to draw at the age of eight at the side of his amateur artist father, and has enthusiastically pursued his art ever since. On leaving school at 16, Gary worked in a factory, but since his daughter launched his Facebook page – Gsh drawings – seven years ago, sales of his work have taken off and he now has fans worldwide.
He was inspired to produce work for Avalon because a friend’s mother has dementia and so approached Jess Harker, Avalon’s deputy manager, also a friend, to ask if she felt a suitable image would be appreciated.
Jess Harker said: “We are thrilled with Gary’s gift, and our residents love it. The butterflies and flowers are so vibrant and full of life. The picture gives out just the kind of positive vibes that benefits people living with dementia.”
Gary Heritage said: “Producing the pictures makes me happy, so if viewing them makes others happy too, that’s job done as far as I’m concerned.
“I’m hoping we’ll get a good attendance at the New Foresters’ exhibition on Sunday – it represents a rare chance at the moment for local people to catch a pop-up show, and I hope they’ll enjoy it. It’s certainly been a pleasure for me to assemble and decide how to present my work.”
Gary’s portfolio includes wildlife portraits – both realistic and fantastical – portraits of musicians and famous actors, often in character, as well as landscapes. His work is characterised by the use of a very bright – sometimes neon – palette.
Avalon Nursing Home is part of the Camelot Care group www.camelotcare.co.uk which has further specialist dementia care homes in Wellington and Plymouth.