Painting through the pain barrier

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Suffering from a painful physical condition can often lead a person to avoid activities they once loved, sending them into a spiral of inactivity.

But for Joy Barry, from Barton Seagrave, producing beautiful landscapes and scenes from nature – using acrylics, oils and watercolours – has enabled her to find a release from the painful psoriatic arthritis she endures.

Using a weekly injection of methotrexate to control the pain, she also finds relief in artwork.

She said: “As an arthritis sufferer, art distracts me whilst painting, and listening to classical music helps me to relax and go with the mood. I have to pace myself as I soon get tired and my neck, arms and fingers become stiff and sore.”

A member of the Kettering & District Art Society, Joy used to work from a studio at Barton Hall, but now works from her own home, producing images including landscapes of Northamptonshire and beyond.

And there will be a chance to see more than 100 of her paintings on display at Chicheley College in High Street, Higham Ferrers, on April 27 and 28, between 10am and 5pm.

Joy said: “I love doing subjects such as owls and landscapes. I’m not into modern art, I don’t know if I fully understand it; most people like to recognise what they are looking at, I have just finished a commission of Burghley House and Ullswater.”

The 69-year-old had enjoyed art at school, but rekindled her interest when she started going to classes as an adult. Six years ago, she went on to become a member of the Fellowship of Professional and Amateur artists and, three years ago, she gained her FPAA Diploma.

She said: “Although interested in art all my life, only in the last 19 years have I taken it up seriously, with the encouragement of husband Jim.”

“I find art so useful now but I do try to pace myself. A lot of people don’t realise how bad arthritis can be, they look at how you look on the outside and say ‘you look well’ but inside you have got aches, pains and tiredness. There is a lot people don’t understand about it.

“But I can get lost in a painting and it’s only when you take a break you realise. I’m always doing one picture and thinking about the next one. I usually have about six pictures on the go.”

Joy’s paintings can also be seen in an ongoing display at The Old Forge Tea Rooms, in Cranford. To contact Joy, email