Lost Love
Photo Credit: Supplied

Anyone considering giving up on a passion, this is for you!

After Ethelwynne van Eck had a stroke that left her painting hand and the right side of her body paralysed, she learnt a new art: determination. Soon, she was reunited with her lost love!


Johannesburg, South Africa (21 July, 2023)—When Ethelwynne van Eck had a stroke, she thought an artist’s worst fate had become her reality. Paralysis on the right side of her body meant that the painting hand she’d taken decades to train couldn’t work anymore. Her lifelong passion seemed like it would remain a lost love stuck in frames of the past—a heartbreaking experience for the oil painter who’d spent so much of her life dedicated to canvases.

That was in 2015. A year later, life changed again when Ethelwynne moved to a Care Centre. Little did she know that this move would reunite her with what she deemed a lost love.

After discovering that Ethelwynne was an artist, the Rand Aid Ron Smith Care Centre’s art group asked if she’d join them by taking on the role of tutor.

“Although initially reluctant, I went along and met the people. They welcomed me so graciously. However, I didn’t just want to tutor other people. I wanted to belong to the group as an artist and be one of them,” Ethelwynne recalls.

Still, Ethelwynne couldn’t say no to the art even if she couldn’t create it anymore. And as the weekly classes went on, inspiration was soon sketched back into her life.

“I took pencils and a sketchbook and started training myself to draw with my left hand. I began by sketching simple shapes and, within weeks, found that I could draw again! Encouraged by my drawing success, I decided to try painting in acrylics and watercolours.”

It wasn’t long until a corner of her room became an art studio where vibrant colour brought life to the space, bringing joy to all who passed by including the nursing staff.

This inspired Ethelwynne to paint them in vibrant colours that they loved most. Practice. Joy. Rinse and repeat. Soon those paintings inspired by others became a journey framed—which now dress up the Centre’s Woodlands wing.

Thanks to a reignited passion, determination and the people who inspired her art, Ethelywnne has been reunited with her lifelong love again.

“After seven years at RSCC, I have mastered the art of painting with my left hand and am so grateful that my love of and talent for creating works of art has been revitalised. I can confidently pursue my passion once again. I feel I have developed and grown as an artist and it is wonderful to be fully involved again, with the one thing that has been my lifelong passion.”—Ethelwynne.

Moral of the journey? Life’s canvas rips sometimes. The visions we have for our lives don’t always translate the way we thought. And sometimes the mess isn’t beautiful. Though these things may deter us, the unexpected splatters and rips can be painted over! Starting again is possible and determination is often the boldest stroke we make.

Sources: Supplied
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About the Author

Ashleigh Nefdt is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Ashleigh's favourite stories have always seen the hidden hero (without the cape) come to the rescue. As a journalist, her labour of love is finding those everyday heroes and spotlighting their spark - especially those empowering women, social upliftment movers, sustainability shakers and creatives with hearts of gold. When she's not working on a story, she's dedicated to her canvas or appreciating Mother Nature.

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