Draw­ing on art – ‘wait­ing for God’

Central Leader - - NEWS - By ROSE CAW­LEY

As a teenager John Wright met the love of his life in hos­pi­tal.

He was there to have part of his left lung re­moved and Mau­reen was there to have part of her right lung cut out. The cou­ple, with their op­pos­ing scars, were the per­fect pair.

Fifty-three years later they found them­selves back in hos­pi­tal fac­ing news that will even­tu­ally tear them away from each other – Mr Wright has ter­mi­nal liver can­cer.

Mr Wright was di­ag­nosed with the disease three years ago and the cou­ple fought hard to get on top of it.

He passed the count­less hours of chemo­ther­apy do­ing draw­ings of nurses, doc­tors, re­cep­tion­ists, or any­one game enough to be pho­tographed.

‘‘I was the artist of on­col­ogy,’’ he says.

‘‘I used to take an out­line of a draw­ing and then my coloured pen­cils and colour in much to the amuse­ment of the staff and pa­tients.’’

He says all his art is done with coloured pen­cils and his art is no child’s play.

‘‘My 40-odd years as a colour matcher/mixer gives my draw­ings that bit more edge, I can get the colours just right.’’

In De­cem­ber 2012 he had a CT scan that showed the tu­mour in his liver had shrunk to al­most noth­ing but four months later the sit­u­a­tion took a grim turn.

Mrs Wright says it was his art that helped him when the doc­tors handed down the ter­mi­nal prog­no­sis.

‘‘The ac­tual feel­ing was worse than when we first knew that he had can­cer,’’ she says.

‘‘To ac­tu­ally go into the of­fice think­ing there might be good news or that they were able to do some­thing else and then to be told that there was noth­ing more they could do – we were just shell shocked, we couldn’t com­pre­hend it, we couldn’t think ‘ this is the end’.’’

Mr Wright says ‘‘it was like a punch in the guts’’.

‘‘If it wasn’t for my Lon­don hu­mour, for Mau­reen and for my draw­ings it would be a bloody mis­er­able time,’’ he says.

‘‘But it is no good just sit­ting here wait­ing for God.’’

And so armed with his col­lec­tion of more than 300 colour­ing pen­cils he draws portraits of peo­ple as a ther­a­peu­tic out­let.

Photo: ROSE CAW­LEY

Long love: Mau­reen and John Wright face their big­gest bat­tle yet. John uses art as an out­let for cop­ing with his ter­mi­nal prog­no­sis.

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