Prizes presented at the 2021 Van Gogh Art Competition of the Warrington Bipolar Support Group


PRIZES were awarded for the Warrington Bipolar UK support group. Vincent Van Gogh Art Competition took place at Blooming Art studio.

The contest was launched on March 30 to commemorate Van Gogh’s birthday 168 years ago and to raise funds for the BipolarUK Christmas Crowdfunding event launched a few days ago.

Commenting on the work of one of the winners, former Mayor Geoff Settle, who organized the competition, said: “The public loved the work of Julie Cunningham. His entry like the others embodied everything I was looking for. A painting on the theme of a “Starry Starry Night”. Julie’s painting was set in a sparse bedroom with a lonely, depressed figure with a rainbow of hope shining through the window. For someone who had only started painting less than a year ago at Blooming Art, it was fantastic. His photo touches the heartstrings.

Blooming Art is an original idea by Gail Stubbings who describes the studio as “a place where spirits can mend”. There are around eighty children attending and a number that are in the adult group some of whom are learning photography with the option of obtaining a certificate. For some, it allowed them to find jobs or just leave the world at the door, relax for about an hour, and practice the skills that Gail and another teacher, Estelle taught them.

Geoff describes the second such fundraiser he organized as a “blind contest” with open public voting. Letters and numbers have been assigned to each entry. This meant that no one knew who the entrees came from.

He said: “Each entry was photographed and uploaded to a multimedia album on the ‘BipolarUK Van Gogh Art Competition’ Facebook page.

“The vote was taken using the LIKE button. There were fifty-six entries and over 460 votes cast. Each painting embodied everything I hoped for. The over-nineteen-year-olds were brilliant and the juniors were so cute. I hope I can find a place to exhibit the work and continue to raise awareness about life with Bipolar. “

“I was impressed by the creativity and understanding of being bipolar as well as by the technique of Vincent Van Gogh shown by all. What’s wonderful is that £ 120 has been raised and will go to the Christmas crowdfunding initiative to help fund bipolar support groups across the country. I myself received a donation after recently giving a lecture at the University of Manchester to clinical psychology students on life and chronic disease management. It took place in the building where Alan Turing was working on his IT.

Gail said: “We were honored to have the new president of Warrington Health Watch, Gary Skentelbery, as a guest. He has been very supportive of my art studio and projects over the years, especially in the area of ​​mental health that he is passionate about.

Gary said: “I was delighted to distribute the protections. Gail has created a wonderful space where her students can paint under the tutelage of herself and Estelle. It is a shining example of a place where you can learn and be creative while feeling safe, producing wonderful works of art.

Geoff added: “The Van Gogh competition is an event that I have categorized as ‘Peace of Mind’ to support the ongoing work to facilitate ‘Warrington Pledge to Peace’ (see my Facebook page of the same name” .

“I hope to develop other projects to be included in the calendar for next year as well as the many long-standing annual activities on the theme of peace. The timetable can then be submitted for ratification in accordance with the Brussels Declaration of 2011 which intends to encourage projects and actions aimed at promoting peace in its most universal sense, based on the importance of each person.

“I keep my fingers crossed that a Peace Pole can be planted in the crematorium near the All-Season Meadows, as the suggestion was made to me by a member of the WBC management team.

“I hope that early next year I will create another competition with a different theme and style of painting. Estelle has already asked if there could be a photography category.

“Can’t wait to see the entrances to this one which features expensive Christmas wrapping paper, Golden Gate skies under a Cat Stevens, Moonshadow, with whirlpools and a sea sky riding solar winds . I gave a special prize to Rebecca with her aura sky, the Golden Gates and the hills across Manchester that can be seen from Warrington.

“Not to mention the juniors, Max Settle whose entry like mine was only put in place to test the process and silence it during the day while Nana took care of certain things. It turned out to be very popular. with Mary Poppins flying with her umbrella and an adorable smiling dog.

For more information on Bipolar, visit their website

Junior winner Max Setttle


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