Northampton retirement village resident's lockdown painting makes front cover of national poetry e-book

'Art has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember so it’s reassuring to see I still have a good eye for it!'

Tuesday, 1st June 2021, 2:47 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th June 2021, 11:49 am
Jean Allen was presented with a bunch of flowers by Richmond Villages Northampton after her painting made the front cover of a poetry book by charity NAPA (National Association for People Providing Activities) NNL-211006-114031001

A Northampton retirement village resident has made the front cover of a national poetry e-book with her lockdown watercolour creation.

Jean Allen has been taking art classes when possible in the garden of Richmond Village with tutor Lily Grob, who runs the sessions for Creative Minds.

The 87-year-old's painting was chosen as the front cover of a poetry book by NAPA (National Association for People Providing Activities) to mark National Day of Reflection in March.

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Poets were encouraged to reflect on the pandemic and their experience of lockdown, which worked perfectly with Jean’s painting.

Presented with a bouquet of flowers from Creative Minds to mark the accolade, Jean said: “It’s wonderful to see one of my paintings make a front cover.

"I find art very relaxing and therapeutic and thoroughly enjoy my classes here at Richmond.

"Art has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember so it’s reassuring to see I still have a good eye for it!”

Jean moved to Richmond Villages Northampton in 2015. Jean has a passion for arts and crafts and lived in Africa for many years where she made her own clothes as well as her own children’s clothing.

To fill her time and follow her interest in the creative arts, Jean is always busy painting, knitting, crocheting or taking craft lessons at the village.

Lily said: “We love to encourage residents to express themselves creatively and Jean did a wonderful job in her painting, creating gentle colours with wild tones which was the perfect fit for the cover of NAPA’s poetry book.”

Chris Rayatt, head of activities at Richmond Villages Northampton, added: “We were pleased that we were able to continue art classes outside in the garden and on the patio during lockdown as the residents take so much joy in these activities.

“We’re delighted that Jean has made her first magazine cover and we’ll be proudly displaying it all over the village for our residents to see.”

Creative Minds delivers art sessions nationally to various care homes, schools, learning disability services and day centres and other venues– running many events, exhibitions and activities in their local areas.

The paintings of various artists at Richmond Village were also selected from the Creative Minds art community to feature in The Guardian newspaper last summer.

Hilary Woodhead from NAPA adds: “I would like to thank Jean for her kind donation of the ‘The Garden’ – a wonderful watercolour.

"We believe the artwork beautifully captures the sentiment of the poetry book and we are most grateful for her support in allowing us to make it our front cover.”