Developing a talent for art at the Linburn Centre

Posted: 27/06/2017 | Scottish War Blinded

Avid artist Bob Watt shares his story of how he found his creative flare, despite not having any interest in it before losing his sight.

“I have been coming to the Linburn Centre for over two years now. I hadScottish War Blinded, Veteran, Bob Watt's Artwork never done any sort of art before I came here because I never thought I could. Previous to retirement I was in the Royal Scots National Service.  I then spent my later years in many roles, most recently as a car salesman. Art was never something I really I would have done before. 

“When my wife died I could have so easily became one of those widowers who sits around all day in front of the telly and slowly wasted away. I don’t believe in that. Your body’s mental health is just as important as your mind’s, you’ve got to keep both active. I believe if I hadn’t started coming to Linburn I wouldn’t have survived. I come twice a week, every week, on a Tuesday and a Thursday and spend most of my days in the art room.

“David, the art instructor, has been amazing. On my first day, I completed my first ever painting. I painted an elephant and I thought it wasn’t very good. David praised me so much on how good he thought it was and it really built my confidence to have another shot. I have issues when trying to identify colours, so David helps by mixing and handing me the right colours when I ask for them. Just being partially sighted is not an excuse for not doing anything. If you put your mind to it you can achieve anything, illness is a state of mind. 

“I have recently started working with clay and making my own pottery. I enjoy this because I do it all with touch, in comparison with painting which I need to have my face really close to the art, because of my sight loss. I prefer to mould everything by hand instead of by premade moulds because it feels better. I think that the lumps and bumps look better too.” 

Some of Bob’s art is now displayed in Edinburgh College and has recently been featured in a BBC documentary called The Dark Way Home, presented by visually impaired reporter Ian Hamilton.Scottish War Blinded, Veteran, Bob Watt, Sculpting

Bob would like to share these words of encouragement to anyone who is thinking about joining Scottish War Blinded: 

“I recommend it without a doubt. It’s the best thing you could ever do and I can’t fault the service in any way. You get to come in and do what you want and it’s all for free. The staff are amazing and I’ve made some great friends too!”

Are you or do you know of a National Service or Armed Forces Veteran with sight loss? It’s free to access the Linburn Centre and our Scotland-wide outreach service. For more information call 0800 035 6409.