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Patient information > SSNAP Artists​

SSNAP Artists

Each year the cover of our SSNAP Annual Report features a painting made by a stroke survivor.
Meet the artists!
Click the images to view the full reports.

Andy Cox
9th SSNAP Annual Report 2021/22

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Artwork from The Road to Recovery 2021/22 SSNAP Report

"Hello. My name is Andy, and, like a number of people, I am recovering from a stroke. In the middle of the COVID lockdowns I woke around 2am one morning and my bedroom was bathed in light, but my bedroom light was off (I had been suffering from a sinus infection). I hurriedly packed a rucksack and was taken to hospital by ambulance. Driving down the A1, the staff informed me we were approaching 105mph (and, jokingly, it wasn’t just for me. They like to trigger the speed cameras).

In the stroke ward, I asked the chap in the bed next to mine what he thought about this stroke business. He said, and I quote, “I am just glad both my eyes look in the same direction”. One day I was taken for a head scan (one of several) and apologised to the lady technician for my clean but un-ironed shirt and, smiling, she informed me she would put it in her report.
After a week I arrived home and had to look after myself. As a single chap, this was pretty tricky (COVID restrictions!). I was left alone with my cooking! Poor left eyesight and weakness down my left side resulted in shaving looking like I’d been attacked by a very angry cat. Over the next few months I had to learn quickly.

Art has been one of the primary scaffoldings through my recovery and COVID lockdowns. I had no idea that attending art college for four years in the 1970s would be so important now. Most humbly, I believe my stroke has made me a better person."
Ken Tooby
8th SSNAP Annual Report 2020/21

2021.jpg                                                                                                                                                                                                        Artwork from A Year Like No Other 2020/21 SSNAP Report

The art on the front of this report was produced by Ken Tooby. Ken has had four strokes, with his first occurring back in 2011. After his first stroke, the road to recovery was a steep one, needing extensive physiotherapy to learn to walk again, and speech therapy to regain his ability to swallow and to help him to learn to talk again. But with lots of hope, determination and support, Ken has managed to build a really positive life after stroke.

Ken stumbled across his amazing artistic talent almost by accident. While attending a rehab session with his stroke group, a lady running an arts and craft session asked whether anyone was interested in painting using watercolors. Within minutes of putting himself forward and picking up the paintbrush, it was clear to everyone that Ken had a gift for it. While not being able to write his own name, due to his stroke, it was clear that Ken’s artwork was something special. And he hasn’t looked back since. Painting has also made a huge difference to Ken’s recovery, being both calming and therapeutic. As well as being involved with his local stroke group, Ken has also previously been a befriending volunteer with the Stroke Association. He found this role extremely rewarding, knowing that he was using his own experience to make a difference for other people.

David Riley
7th SSNAP Annual Report 2019/20

'A special thanks to the NHS'


"I had my stroke in November of 2015. This resulted in me being left with a severely impaired heart function and a right sided homonymous hemianopia, basically this means I have lost all the sight on my right hand side. I also have Charles Bonnet syndrome, which is a condition that some people who have lost their sight can suffer from. It causes you to see things that aren't really there, known as visual hallucinations.

So I now live in a left handed world. You can imagine times have been, and still are, very difficult for me. Normal everyday tasks are very challenging, just the simple things like eating, getting round the house or venturing outdoors especially when I’m out in crowded places.

I was given the opportunity to attend the Bridgend Stroke Group on a Tuesday for the Art class. I had no idea if I would even be able to draw a straight line never mind paint a picture. With help from the regular tutor Steph and many hours of perseverance I now enjoy losing myself in a painting. The painting I submitted to the SSNAP team was my way of saying thank you for all the great work the NHS have done throughout the Corona virus and also to say thank you for nursing me after my Stroke."

You can view more of David's art here:

Andrew Marr
7th SSNAP Annual Report 2019/20
'The Park in Winter'  'The News in Loudwater' 

Andrew was born in Glasgow in 1959 and educated in Dundee, Edinburgh and Cambridge. He has worked as a political journalist for the Scotsman, the Independent and the Economist, BBC political editor from 2000 to 2005, and most recently host of the Andrew Marr Show since 2005 and Start of the Week since 2001. Andrew is the author of 14 published books of history and fiction. He is married with three children and lives in North London.
The drawings on the cover of the 7th SSNAP Annual Report (2019/20) were provided by Andrew Marr. Andrew had a major stroke in 2013, changing how he paints and draws. The two drawings on the cover are part of a series of 40 drawings made during the March 2020 lockdown.

"‘The Park in Winter’ is one of my favourite lockdown drawings, thinking back to the London parks as winter ended. I like its spikiness. In order to keep working while protecting the vulnerable members of my family, I had to decamp to a self-catering place near the M40. Hardly anyone was around. It helped my drawing."

You can view more of Andrew’s art here:

Mary Burke
6th SSNAP Annual Report 2018/19

Mary-Burke-1.png Mary's watercolour painting, sketched on during an International Sketching Symposium, Porto 2019

"My art recovery journey started five years previously following a subarachnoid haemorrhage whilst on a Charity bike ride in August 2012. Even though everything changed for me, my road to recovery was inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote “Out of difficulties come opportunities”. Despite being unable to return to my previous role as a specialist liaison perinatal mental health nurse, I attended a specialist day centre that offered a range of physical and creative therapies. My stroke affected me physically, leaving me with poor balance, reduced coordination, poor memory, fatigue, difficulty in reading and writing. In addition, the head injury left me with continual pain and discomfort due to fractured internal facial bones. Topographic amnesia made it difficult to find my way around while working as a community nurse. I had to retire on health grounds. Emotionally, my mood ranged from being over excited, perplexed, confused, angry and tearful. Early retirement meant I needed to refocus how I would spend my time. Art therapy became a lifeline and gateway back to a fuller social and recreational life. I gradually progressed from a colouring book to joining art sessions and workshops. Through participating in groups, I gained confidence and abilities which helped me to move onto a college art foundation diploma course. During this time, I have participated and submitted my work to local exhibitions at Salford Art Gallery, Community Festivals and given presentations for The Stroke Association and UK Stroke Forum. I have also received commissions from people I have met in the course of my sketching. This year I have registered to do a part-time Masters Illustration course at Manchester Metropolitan University. I have embraced support provided by local disability groups and carers. I hope this will be an inspiration to other Stroke Survivors starting out on their recovery journey."

Brian Murphy
4th SSNAP Annual Report 2016/17

Brian-Murphy-1.png 'Flight' 

"I am 68 years old. I had a stroke last September which was caused by a large bleed on the left side of my brain. The stroke affected the right side of my body, including my arm, leg and also my speech. I had always been a keen artist from being a child, I also played the guitar from a young age, even being in a group in the 60s. Being a right handed person I thought that both of these hobbies had been lost to me forever! I tried drawing within a few weeks of suffering the stroke, which at first was just a scribble. My wife photographed these attempts in order to keep a record of any improvement.
On my return home, I exercised my arm, hand, leg and speech with my physiotherapist who came to my home everyday. I gradually started to improve. My physiotherapist asked me to try drawing and playing my guitar just to see how I got on. The next 8 weeks were extremely hard, but I slowly started to improve at both of these things. By the time my physiotherapists visits had come to an end she was amazed at my progress.
Since last Christmas I have returned to my art group, and have also joined a number of other groups including ukulele, creative writing and poetry. I joined these to try and help to keep my brain as active as I possibly could. I have also designed the front cover of our creative writing book which will be out later this year.
The picture on the front cover of this report was painted a few months ago. I feel that the title for this painting ‘Flight’ may have been chosen on a subconscious level as an expression of the movement and energy that I hope to attain again someday." 

Richard Creme
3rd SSNAP Annual Report 2015/16

Richard-Creme-1.png Richard-Creme-2.png Richard-Creme-3.png
'Morning' 'Noon' 'Night'

The three paintings 'Morning', 'Noon' and 'Night' on the front cover of the 3rd SSNAP Annual Report (2015/16) are by Richard Creme. The following message is from his wife, Shelly.
Before Richard’s stroke we had our own retail business, which was a fashion store that was visited by interesting and influential people. After the stroke, we had to close the business. That was our livelihood and what we loved doing. Stroke changes everything. In an ideal world, your life has structure and a meaning, but everything is taken away from you with the stroke. We used to have a week where we worked, and a weekend where we would visit friends and have fun. Now every day is the same.
Because of Richard’s aphasia, it can be hard to know his emotions. But the paintings you see on the front cover are an expression of how he feels emotionally at particular parts of the day. In the morning, when he wakes up, his head is quite confused. It’s like a car, the engine needs to tick over. There’s a lot going on there. Noon is less busy, and the night is more tranquil, he is more relaxed.
For Richard, the art that he does is his lifeline. Since his stroke, and with him having aphasia, it’s really hard for him to communicate. Even I don’t know everything that he wants to say. It’s like, “give us a clue here!” When he does his art, he switches off from everything else, and it takes his mind to a totally different place.

Robert Welch
2nd SSNAP Annual Report 2014/15

Robert-Welch-1.png A piece from Robert's "A Sore Head Exhibition", 2012

“I had a stroke in 2011.
I had 8 weeks in hospital.
I couldn’t speak, I would open my mouth but it was just rubbish.
I started off writing but I could draw an ‘R’.
I could do drawing but not with paint, it was too messy.
Felt pens in sketch books.
It was simple and complex.
I came out and it was weird.
After a month I had speech therapy, it was really good.
Then I had some seizures, it was terrible.
After two years I had an exhibition called ‘A Sore Head’.
And a book in April 2015.”

Claire Whitehouse
1st SSNAP Annual Report 2013/14

Clare-Whitehouse-1.png “Distant as a light house I felt, shining my inner light for a rescue boat... In time it eventually came!”

Claire is an artist and stroke survivor from Bournemouth who suffered a stroke in 2010 at the age of 19. Following her stroke, Claire learned to draw again using her left hand and hopes her image will provide hope and determination for other stroke survivors and their families.


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