Written by Chris Long.

I’m an abstract painter who loves to teach finger-painting to artists who need to loosen up, find their inner child or even just to want to have fun!

I have multiple sclerosis. It hit me like a stroke in 2004. My dominant side was paralyzed. I had to learn to sit up, walk, talk and see all over again.

I knew from my previous work that the brain could be rewired around areas that had sustained damage. So I used art therapy as part of my toolkit to help to get better. After being blind for a year, being able to see colour and shapes gave me great joy! Doing art also helped me to regain motor control on my dominant side while learning to use my left hand.

Artwork by Chris Long.

One of my first teachers, a well-known printmaker, said that if I liked colour and could paint like a 5 year old, I’d love her class. She was right. That’s the same spirit I use in my finger painting classes. It’s all about joy.

The results have been phenomenal. Artists who were “tight” have gone on to do beautiful, creative work. Quilt-makers stepped out of their comfort zones. Colours and patterns sang. Those with hand-eye coordination problems have found finger-painting a safe and easy place to be themselves and gain some confidence. The studio fills with the sounds of music and laughter.

Artwork by Chris Long.

I love doing this simple thing. It’s a way for me to give back something to those who have given me so much encouragement along my journey.

I hope anyone who feels stuck, wants to find their inner child again and just have a blast to try this! Or connect with me at long@rogers.com and we can chat.

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