Artist raises cash for Parkinson’s charity

Artist Keith Smith presenting money raised to Parkinson's charity after selling his art at the Wellbeing Centre in Cleckheaton with Carol Swift , Sheron Parkin, Chrissie Fielden from Parkinsons UK and Imogen Smith. (D524F443)
Artist Keith Smith presenting money raised to Parkinson's charity after selling his art at the Wellbeing Centre in Cleckheaton with Carol Swift , Sheron Parkin, Chrissie Fielden from Parkinsons UK and Imogen Smith. (D524F443)
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An artist who suffers from Parkinson’s disease has raised £1,100 for charity by selling off a number of his works.

Keith Smith exhibited and sold 14 pieces, which ranged from collage to water colours, during a show at the Wellbeing Centre, Cleckheaton, in aid of Parkinsons UK.

He said: “They have been very generous, the local folk. The walls are looking a bit empty.”

Mr Smith, 78, was aged 26 and working as a trainee draughtsman when he realised his artistic talent.

He said: “I ended up doing a job I wasn’t interested in for ten years.”

Then, as part of his training to become a teacher, he took an evening class in art.

“I thought, ‘Why hadn’t I done this all my life?’”

Mr Smith taught in Hampshire, where he met his wife, Imogen, before teaching in Heckmondwike.

“The money in teaching was good then,” he said. “I only intended to stay for a year but I’ve been here since 1976.”

Mr Smith’s collage, Bottom’s Up, was started 40 years ago and only completed recently.

“I usually try to finish them,” he said. “When you talk about collage people think of little children but it’s a bit more complicated than that.

“You make the felt as you go along. You start with fleece and then you dye it the way you want.

“You start with a white foundation. With hot water you work the fleece and change the colour by working it with your wrist.

“It is time consuming, but how long depends on the size.”

His first painting, a self portrait, was picked up by a gallery in Ripon.

He said: “I painted it in acrylics using a knife. God knows why you do those things.”

Calligraphy often played a part in Mr Smith’s work, but it is something that his illness now made more difficult.

He said: “I was always very interested in calligraphy and letter shapes, but my hand won’t accommodate it now.

“One of the works I sold was the Lord’s Prayer. It was bought by a lady who had been educated at a convent. She translated the Latin. It reminded her of her childhood.”

Mr Smith, of Headlands Close, Liversedge, said he will continue with his work.

“My garage is converted to a studio,” he said.

“It’s where I go to make things happen, but ideas happen everywhere – the studio is the slave galley.”