Fine Lines & Narrow Margins; Scottish War Blinded Member Robert Harvey Describes his Newfound Passion for Archery & Art

Posted: 31/08/2015 | Scottish War Blinded

Scottish War Blinded member Robert Harvey has written an article about his newfound passion for both archery and art as a result of attending the Linburn Centre. As a former professional footballer and sports coach, Robert continues to embrace sporting challenges, as well as discover the creative arts, in later life.

Robert, pictured to the left in the image opposite, describes his archery experience and latest artistic project:

“My interest in archery started when, through Scottish War Blinded, I joined the monthly Friday sessions at the Scottish Archery Hall in Newington, Edinburgh. Having been in professional sport all my life, I saw this event as a possible competitive activity - you never quite lose that desire to compete, even if you lose your sight!!  In addition to Scottish War Blinded staff, a number of Penicuik Archers assisted in basic technique work during these sessions. 

“A year ago, I joined Penicuik Archers, and was made immediately welcome.  I attended the Sunday morning sessions in the Hall of Penicuik High School in the winter, transferring to the field for the summer.  The Club kindly loaned me a bow/arrow kit and in March I attended a week at Brighton Blind Veterans UK, winning gold & bronze medals in two competitions at 20 metre distances.

“Having then become involved with this new activity, I was intrigued when my wife, Kate, showed me a small, poster-style picture of that most famous archer, William Tell and I realised I could combine my interest in painting with my new found enthusiasm for archery!   First, the original would have to be enlarged - it only measured 2" x 1" - so that I could put on a grid.  I drew horizontal & vertical lines on the enlargement, then marked numbers down the length and letters on the width.  By putting a similar grid onto my painting board, I was able to draw the image accurately, prior to painting with acrylic paint.

“As you will know, William Tell was Swiss and so that I could personalise my own version of the original small picture, I changed the Swiss flag on his tunic to the logo of Penicuik Archers, cut out from their letterhead and gave the archer a red bow and arrow, similar to their club colour.  I hope Penicuik Archers notice these modifications made in their honour!

“I have used the grid system in most of my painting as it gives you confidence and even with very limited vision like mine, gives a structure, enabling you to work in some detail even if you are a perfectionist like me!  I would recommend you give this method a try, particularly if you are new to painting or drawing.”

Robert served in National Service and developed a visual impairment in subsequent later life. Do you know someone like Robert who you can guide to us?