02:41AM, Friday 21 February 2014
A widowed artist who has suffered from depression since a teenager is staging an exhibition of her work to help victims of mental health problems.
Felicity Ruggles, of Burchetts Green Road, will be displaying a collection of her paintings, titled 'From Dark Holes to Daffodils' at Norden Farm Centre for the Arts in Altwood Road from Tuesday, February 25 until Sunday, March 16.
The 64-year-old, who lives with her two cats since her husband Gerry died three years ago, has based her work on her own experiences, paintings which depict what it's like to be in a 'dark hole.'
"This isn't a pretty art exhibition," said Felicity, who worked in industrial sales before she retired and compares her own depression to being traumatized.
At the age of 14 she suffered a mental break-down and has struggled with depression and alcoholism throughout her life.
A fan of Picasso and Edvard Munch who is famous for The Scream, Felicity bases the paintings on photographs of herself which she then sets out to 'abstract and simplify.'
She hopes the exhibition will strike a chord with other sufferers of depression, as well as practitioners, to help them get a deeper understand of the illnesses' complexities.
In particular she wants to convey how mental illness can not always be detected from a person's appearance.
The self-declared hat-lover demonstrates this point through her choice to wear heavy make-up and bright clothing.
"It is like a protective box I can hide behind."
She added: "People get the wrong idea about me, they think I'm a smart tart but I am very vulnerable"
Along with pictures depicting darker themes the exhibition will include landscapes painted on her happier days.
She said: "When I get out of my dark hole I see the world more beautifully then other people do so there is contrast in the exhibition."
Visit www.nordenfarm.org for information.
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