Family pride at David’s new Westacre art exhibition

Westacre exhibition: David Baker with his wife Julia Howarth and work on display, Sleepless Dreaming 1/2/3.

Westacre exhibition: David Baker with his wife Julia Howarth and work on display, Sleepless Dreaming 1/2/3.

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An exhibition of paintings by Westacre artist David Baker has opened at the Westacre Theatre gallery.

A stone carver and artist, the exhibition mostly represents his work after he developed Parkinson’s disease in his early sixties and the associated Parkinson’s dementia more recently.

Due to his health problems he has been unable to carve stone for several years, however he turned his artistic ability back to painting and although his figurative painting has changed significantly to a more abstract style, his sense of colour and form remain intact.

His family say: “We feel it is really important to spread the word that as awful as Parkinson’s disease and dementia can be, with encouragement, love and support it is possible to remain interested and involved in art, and to keep painting. We feel that the vibrancy of David’s paintings shines through in his work in spite of his health problems.

“Art is part of life in it’s different stages, and although style may significantly change it can still be striking, mysterious and beautiful. We believe that David’s work is a demonstration of this and we hope that everyone enjoys the exhibition.”

David painted the two watercolour portraits in the exhibition, his grandfather and his mother, when he was in his early teens.

In the early 1980s David started his own letter carving business working from his home in Norfolk; the business grew and in 1985 David moved to West Acre, marrying Julia two years later.

With Henry Birbeck’s support he converted part of the old blacksmith’s building in the garden of Ford Cottage into a studio, from where he ran a successful business for many years.

David has many carvings all over the country and has a lot of work in Ely Cathedral and numerous commemorative plaques for buildings opened by The Queen and other members of The Royal Family. Sadly due to his health problems he has been unable to carve for several years.

None of David’s four sons or three of his stepchildren followed his career path but his step-daughter, Charlotte Howarth, was greatly influenced by his work, enthusiasm and encouragement and has her own successful stone carving business in Westacre.

The exhibition at Westacre Theatre remains open until August 31.