The GPC Resident Council was contacted by the Larry, the son of former Pearson resident Harry Watts, who passed away in 1976. Larry offered to donated three paintings by the prolific oil painter David Young.
Larry shared that his mother and father had purchased these paintings simply because they liked them. He had held on to them all these years but felt it was time to find them a new home.
Larry’s father Harry and painter David Young had both lived at the same time at Pearson Hospital, as it was called then. Current Pearson resident Joy remembers them both:
“I remember watching David Young paint and getting some tips from him. I also remember Harry Watts and his wonderful wife who used to take him home for weekends. Harry had no independent breathing so he went home on a stretcher in the back of a station wagon (no vans or Handydart at that time!), using a chest curassis…to breathe. Once they arrived home, his fellow fire fighter friends got him into the house and onto the rocking bed where he entertained his kids and visitors.”
The paintings are beautiful textured landscapes featuring mountains, trees and ocean:
In the Resident Council archives we found a newspaper article clipped from Autumn 1976 – we can’t tell which newspaper, and it is worth noting that the language is outdated. Nowadays it is more common to refer to ‘the person with a disability’ rather than ‘severely disabled person’. But this article entitled “Pearson painter emerges” gives us some history on David Young and his painting techniques:
“While at the Pearson Hospital, David had developed his artistic talent at oil painting, using the palette-knife application method, not the most simple of techniques, but with special difficulties for a severely disabled person. David overcame this by using his mouth to hold his knives, and now paints using a specially designed powered easel which he developed together with the staff and colleagues at the Pearson Hospital.”
The article states that David Young had recently moved into the community to live with his wife and stepchildren. At that time, he had to sleep on a mechanically rocking bed. He used technology still new at the time, a Touch Operated Selector Control unit (TOSC) which gave him access to services such as the telephone, intercom, among other things. It is interesting to have a view into this talented painter’s history, and to enjoy his textured oil paintings in real life.