REFUGE ART by HB Barry Strasbourg-Thompson BFA

"Hello. I'm Barry Strasbourg-Thompson BFA. Welcome.Art continues to be my friend, my income, my REFUGE after all these years. I believe in giving back what I have received and so I paint and teach what I know. I'm here for you if you want it.Why do I paint and teach that Art is my Refuge? Its simple. It’s a place inside and outside of me where I make art , and feel better.Earlier when I was young, life was difficult, and further complicated by a childhood head injury. I felt lonely. I had no voice of my own until I found that I liked making things, painting model airplanes, making paintings, expressing my emotions in artwork, talking with other kids about making things and making art. I had fun. I felt happy when I did this. Wow! What a way to have fun and feel better. Make things. Make Art.In 1953 Budge Crawley, founder of Crawley Films of Ottawa came to our school and picked 6 of us to be in his NFB film "Mural Making". I loved it. I went to the film studio and painted with the other students. We became friends. AND I GOT PAID FOR IT! Wow! Painting. Friends. And money! What fun. What a joy. I felt happier doing this "Art" thing.Later as my health deteriorated, I could no longer work at a job. A friend said " Do what you love" and I discovered I could feel better by painting and being around and focusing on the business of Art. I painted and made myself feel better.What a blessing. I make lemonade out of life's lemons. Yes, Art is my friend. Art is my REFUGE. Art provides me with a feeling of safety and of being sheltered. Art improves my health. Art provides a way to increase my income. Art gives me a way to be happy in the moment. I paint about this and share these paintings with friends.I wanted to teach how Art gives me that feeling. So I went back to university and studied Visual Art at the University of Ottawa. Part of my 4th year Visual Art studies was a placement at a Veterans Health Centre where I was tasked with helping war vets with various forms of dementia. There were some similarities between dementia and my head injury so I took what I knew about my own recovery, developed an Art program and taught it to the veteran's Art class. It worked!!! Art became their REFUGE, their friend. They found happiness and peace in Art making. I found out how to teach Art as REFUGE. Art continues to be my friend, my income, my REFUGE after all these years. I believe in giving back what I have received and so I paint and teach what I know. Call me today