I receive a calendar each year from the Canadian Mouth and Foot Painting artists.
The Mouth and Foot Painting Artists (MFPA) was formed in 1956, and has been operating in Canada since 1961, theMFPA is an international, for-profit association wholly owned and run by disabled artists to help them meet their financial needs. Members paint with brushes held in their mouths or feet as a result of a disability sustained at birth or through an accident or illness that prohibits them from using their hands.
These are some of the most beautiful paintings/works of art I have ever seen, and to think that they were painted using only a brush held by feet or mouth !
Below are some of the artists and their paintings and check out their website at www.mfpacanada.com
Susie Matthias Mouth Painter London, Ontario
Susie Matthias was born in London, Ontario. As a result ofthe drug Thalidomide, she was born without arms or legs. Despite her obstacles,
she has always retained a positive outlook on life and the things that she canaccomplish. Throughout her childhood and early adolescence, Susie discovered atalent for art. She excelled in painting, and with support from her parents, shedeveloped her mouth painting technique.
Susie began showing promise asan art student at a young age. After high school, Susie continued with her loveof art by taking art courses at Saunders Secondary School, a school for the artsin London, and spent a year at Fanshawe College in Fine Arts.
In the early 1990’s, Susie was introduced to Mouth and Foot Painting Artists (MFPA), which has provided her with the opportunity to focus on her art full time by providing her with a monthly income. In 2000, one of Susie’s paintings won a national competition and was featured on the special Christmas stamp issued by Canada Post. Susie became a Full Member of the Association in March 2009.
One of her favourite pastimes is swimming which gives her relaxation away from her busy painting schedule. She has competed for fun in regional games and has won several medals and ribbons in her category. Susie also enjoys electric wheelchair floor hockey.
Susie currently resides in London, Ontario. She lives in her own apartment and enjoys visiting with friends and eight siblings.
Michel Guillemette Mouth Painter Sainte-Foy, Quebec
As a young athlete, Michel Guillemette always had a preference for outdoor sports. In 1966, however, his life took an abrupt turn when, at age nineteen, he dove into the St. Lawrence River during low tide – hitting bottom and breaking his spine, leaving him paralyzed from the neck
He spent thirteen years of convalescence at the Sanatorium Bégin at Lac Etchemin, Quebec. The first years were long and depressing. This changed when he became interested in rehabilitation activities and decided to learn to write, holding his pen with his teeth.
Very proud of his success and with the encouragement of his therapists, Michel continued making progress and had his first painting debut in 1977. “My first landscape was not bad at all,” he remembers, “so I decided to continue painting.”
Since then, Michel has left the sanatorium. He now lives alone in his studio apartment, which is equipped for his special needs. He prefers to paint his landscapes in oils.
Michel became part of the MFPA in 1987 and was appointed a Full Member in March 2004.Besides painting, Michel loves to play chess and cards and relaxes listening to music or watching television.
Cody Tresierra Mouth Painter Cloverdale, British Columbia
The abrupt halt to a young, active, sports-oriented life just reaching adulthood is among life’s worst tragedies. Cody Tresierra, 19 at the time, now counts himself lucky that his life was spared when a motor vehicle accident left him paralyzed from the neck down.
Born in Ashcroft, British Columbia, and raised in Clinton, Cody was living in Quesnel with his family at the time of the accident. Transferred to the extended-care Pearson Hospital in Vancouver, he took up mouth painting as a form of therapy.
Encouraged and guided by instructor Betty Black, he became more enthusiastic as his previously unknown talent surfaced. Cody has subsequently taken private tuition to develop his talent and excels in oils, especially landscapes and seascapes.
In 1986, Cody joined the MFPA, which supports him to pursue his artistic career. He became a Full Member of the Association in March 2000.
“I felt pretty devastated when I was first told that I would not get the use of my limbs back”, he says. “But after that, I just concentrated on getting on with my life. I was lucky that I was young, and young people are adaptable.”
Cody maintains a lively interest in music, sports and all forms of the arts, and now lives with his wife in Cloverdale, British Columbia