A BLIND veteran from Dinas Powys has been joining other veterans virtually to get involved with painting during the lockdown period.
The National Creative Project has been created by the charity Blind Veterans UK to keep veterans connected and to prevent them from feeling isolated during the lockdown period.
The project focuses on creative activities and allows their veterans to get involved with different hobbies such as gardening and woodwork, from the comfort and safety of their own home.
Lewis Evans, 85, has been involved with the painting for beginners and improvers project.
He said: “I’ve always had an interest in art and craft and actually wanted to become an art teacher when I was younger.
“I submitted a painting for the charity’s Exhibition Fundraiser last year and it sold for £62!
“It was after this that I heard about the National Creative Project, so I decided to get involved”.
He served in the Welsh Guards for 34 years and was discharged as a Major in 1987. He has been diagnosed with Wet Macular Degeneration and only has about 30% vision in his right eye.
Fortunately, Mr Evans found Blind Veterans UK and he started to receive support from the charity in 2017.
“Blind Veterans UK have given me a new life. I’ve been to the charity’s Llandudno centre many times and met other veterans,” added Mr Evans.
“I’ve been part of the choir and I even sang for the other veterans during a coffee break once! I want to help the charity in any way I can”.
Mr Evans has created many different paintings with pastels and watercolours. He has also created ink and pencil drawings.
“As part of the project, the charity sent me four different pictures of landscapes along with the equipment I’d need to recreate the picture,” he said.
“You can either copy those designs or create your own. I have created lots of different paintings with animals and some with winter themes. I have also painted a mountain scene of North Wales.”
Dave Bryant, Art and Craft Instructor at Blind Veterans UK, said: “The Painting for Beginners and Improvers project has been designed for members of all abilities to enjoy art.
“Members may choose to use their own materials or receive materials and equipment as part of their pack.
“The NCP has allowed us to reconnect with members, such as Lewis, in a new and exciting way. The project has given members a new purpose and something to look forward to.”
The painting group have monthly calls so the veterans can check in with each other and see how each other are getting on. This has been a great support for those who would have otherwise felt isolated during the lockdown period.
“I am going to join my first call next week,” added Mr Evans.
“It’ll be nice to be able to speak to others who are doing the painting project. Painting has been great for me during lockdown.
“I live on my own and I don’t like going out walking too much because of the virus. This has given me something to focus on.”
To find out more about Blind Veterans UK’s National Creative Project, please visit: https://www.blindveterans.org.uk/ncp.
The National Support Service will help blind veterans through this period of social isolation.