Artist with a gift for healing
AN ARCHITECT who turned to painting after being told to use her brain more to help control epilepsy is now helping others rebuild their lives after illness and injury.
Xia Lu, 47, from Liverpool, never imagined she would become an artist.
Her drawing and sketches were a hobby, a spin-off from architectural work in her homeland of China.
She only started to take painting seriously when doctors in Liverpool told her that as part of her self-treatment for epilepsy, she needed to use her brain more.
Unless she did this, there was a danger that she might lose her power of speech or end up in a wheelchair, they warned her.
Watercolour painting has now given Xia Lu a new desire to live her life to the full, and this energy shines through her paintings which have been exhibited at Liverpool Anglican Cathedral, Blackburne House and in Calderstones Park.
Now Xia Lu has opened workshops using her special watercolour techniques at the Neuro Support Centre in Norton Street, Liverpool.
Every Monday afternoon, she teaches clients at the centre, as well as their family members and carers, the gentle art of watercolour painting.
The idea is that the painting classes will give people who have suffered brain injuries or trauma after accidents, a new sense of self confidence.
Many members of her class have already produced their own watercolours and the centre is planning an art exhibition to display their work.
David Ward, who runs the Windows Project and is a life-long friend of Xia Lu, said the results of her watercolour skills are amazing.
He added: “Her paintings are very popular as gifts and have also sold widely through Editions and Rennies art shops.
“Xia Lu has devised her own technique which combines Chinese and western traditions. Her subjects are usually landmark buildings around Liverpool, drawing on her background in architectural design, but adding the fluidity of traditional Chinese watercolour painting. She combines her use of Chinese inks and special rice papers with absorbent towelling to reduce the excess moisture, so allowing her more control over the colours while retaining the ethereal quality of traditional Chinese pictures.
“Chinese painting concentrates on water and ink while Western styles use more colour. Xia Lu fuses the best of both these techniques. The effect is like traditional Chinese watercolour, but rich in colour.”
Xia Lu, who became epileptic as a teenager, said: “I am happy to share my experiences as a painter with other people. I will welcome anybody along to my classes. I also teach Tai Chi and Qi Gong and they also help me control my epilepsy. The doctors wanted to see if using my brain as an artists will help improve my epilepsy so that any attacks are reduced.”
Brian Simpson, work and life co-ordinator at the neuro centre, said: “The classes have been set up for clients of the neurological centre and their families and carers. They are proving very popular. It is part of a programme to rebuild their confidence and purpose. A lot of people who suffer from neurological conditions need to be given a purpose in life. Xia Lu’s classes helps give them purpose and gets them out of their homes.”
A FREE exhibition of Xia Lu’s watercolours will be held at the Coach House, Calderstones Park, Liverpool, from November 12-18.