Averil Rees (nee Clifford)
Even as a small child I was fascinated by drawing & painting, & my parents kept me supplied with paper & crayons. As I wouldn't sleep until I was exhausted, it was their only chance of peace.
One of my paintings was among those chosen to represent my secondary school in an inter-schools competition at the age of 13, so fired with added enthusiasm, I entered 3 paintings into an Open Exhibition in Northampton. My parents had a surprise when I sold them all.
That reinforced my love of painting, but in the sixth-form I had to drop art to do science subjects. My parents & teachers thought art was a good subject to study only if you couldn't do anything more academic.
I gained a first-class honours in Biochemistry at Aberystwyth, got married & had children, but continued painting as often as I could. When the children were older I went back to work in the university, & established more contacts for selling work. I found time to do a part-time foundation course, & when my short-term contract at work was not able to be renewed in 1993 it was just the push I needed. I had a little bit of money saved up & I prepared to start a degree in Fine Art.
Just two weeks before the start of term, my world came apart. As I was walking home, I had a brain haemorrhage. A post- operative severe stroke left my right-side paralysed. I was in hospital for 13 months, while I learned to walk & talk again & waited to be re-housed in a ground floor flat.
Being right-handed, my world was even more of a mess than ever. My whole right arm was paralysed & it was so frustrating re-learning to draw & paint with my left hand. There were times when I almost gave up. However, I persevered & now I draw & paint with my left-hand.
I was featured as a "Success Story" by the magazine "Artists & Illustrators" in February 1998. I have paintings in private collections in Gt. Britain and Ireland, Norway, Sweden, America & South Africa.