The COVID-19 lockdown was a stressful time for many people but for 51-year-old Greenacres participant, Glen Donnelly, one of the hardest challenges was going without his weekly art lesson.

When I do art I feel relaxed and I feel like myself and I calm down, I missed my art classes straight away Glen said.

Knowing that Glen was feeling anxious without the weekly release of his art class, Senior Art Coordinator, Victoria Velozo, sent him a ‘care package’ of art materials and instructions for a project to create at home but it wasn’t the same for Glen.

After two weeks, he was back in the Ralph Black Drive studio for a three hour 1:1 lesson with Victoria and he said he immediately felt more calm and centred.

I was doing some things at home, like I am making my own comic book and a recipe book but I like being here, Glen said.

When I come, I just feel good and I get straight into it “ I call this my ‘happy time.’

And it is not just Glen enjoying the weekly lesson. Victoria said it has been a pleasure teaching Glen and seeing him grow in confidence and evolve as an artist.

When he first started coming to the Outsider Artists Glen was hesitant and needed a lot of instruction but now he is so much more independent, Victoria said.

He has really wonderful ideas, he knows what he wants to create and I love guiding him to bring his ideas to life.

Glen said that it wasn’t until he saw his art work displayed at the annual Outsider Artists exhibition that he started to feel confident with what he was creating.

All my family came to the exhibition, even my cousin and they all said they were very proud of me, Glen said.

I felt so happy and proud when I sold my first artwork and I have much more confidence now, I believe in myself as an artist.

Like many Greenacres events this year, the 2020 Outsider Artists exhibition has been cancelled due to COVID-19, but Victoria said that a date has been booked for 2021 and the artists are already starting to produce beautiful work for that exhibition.

The Sunday Outsider Artist class will be back on Sunday 12 July with all Outsider Artist and ceramics classes back to the pre COVID-19 schedule from this date but with smaller numbers to ensure safety.