Thank you all for being here tonight.
I would like to welcome the Patrons of Warpaint, the committee, sitters and charities WARpaint are fundraising for. It means a lot to me to have you All here together. Particularly to meet each other and learn first hand what the project is about.
The idea behind WARpaint first came to me not long after I started working professionally as an artist.
I painted Dougie Dalzell posthumously after he was tragically killed on his 27th birthday by an IED. Painting Dougie made me realise I wanted to add something more meaningful to my work.
Now, 6 years later, many more people have suffered from conflicts around the world. They will continue to, I am sure , but I have met many men and women who have been injured mentally or physically at war and are leading positive lives. Some may still be pulling their way completely out of the darkness, yet they have travelled so far. How inspiring it is to see them strive and succeed and what an inspiration they can be to many more people.
The Aim of Warpaint is to paint 15, if not more, full length life size paintings and 40 sketches. The full length paintings will hang in the new Defence and National rehabilitation Centre being built at Stanford Hall in the Midlands where I hope they will inspire future casualties of war that they do have a positive future. Between now and 2018 when it opens the paintings are being lent to corporates to hang in their offices in return for a donation. We are raising funds for the four main charities: DDMT WWTW, Stoll and Combat Stress. The forty sketches are likely to be sold at auction along with other commercial ideas to raise funds for Blind Veterans, The Solidiers Charity, RAF Benevolent Fund and the Royal Navy and Marines charity.
Most of the work I have completed so far is here tonight. I hope you enjoy seeing it !
My main hope is that not only will we raise a significant amount for charities that support the wounded from war but also that the paintings will motivate others to lead the ever positive lives like my sitters do.
I owe it to the committee for getting this project off the ground. We really are starting to gain momentum and interest. Four full length paintings have been completed and are imminently going to be hung on walls of various corporates buildings in London. We have received other separate donations already and I am confident we will reach our target of 250k. The committee have been very active in helping in this area in particular. We have a varied group of people with very successful city careers – some ex serving, media, finance, and PR – all offering their time and expertise for free.
It is important that this project covers all three services and I hope that is reflected in the choice of sitters, committee and our patrons. I feel very grateful and honoured to have such a dedicated and passionate team. I can’t thank you enough.
Sitters, each and every one of you I am in awe of. Its been a privilege to spend time with you all, hear your stories and your plans for the future. Your determination and strength. Your drive to push yourselves, prove yourselves is remarkable. Thank you for the time you have given and I hope through this project you can help many more people like yourselves.
I know a lot of you have travelled a long way to be here and are here to support WARpaint once again. You have all helped to get WARpaint off the ground. Remember we have to finish up by around 9:30. There’s plenty of wine so please reward yourself for your efforts so far. Take time to listen to or share your stories. Maybe consider new ways to help spread the word of WARpaint. Thank you for coming this evening and thank you all for helping to make Warpaint a reality.