The story of the most recent few years of Edwyn Collins’ life is, despite being fairly traumatic, ultimately a cheering tale – for although his slow recovery from a terribly serious stroke in 2005 has been painful and limited, he has overcome huge odds to regain power over his life and his art, and is as a consequence once more playing live, writing songs, singing and performing. But the process of healing began not with a return to the studio but with the pain-staking process of learning to read again, and learning how to draw with his left hand, having lost the use of his right. Now, a couple of years on, Edwyn is once more full of hope and confident about the future – which is wonderful stuff. In the Guardian today, he writes:
"I drew my first bird, a widgeon. It's quite crude, but I was pleased with the result. Each day I drew at least one bird. I was tired back then, but my stamina has grown. I could see my progress with each bird. Up, up, up. It's encouraging. (…) When I draw there is no interference. Since my stroke, I am interfered with quite a lot. And this is not to my taste, although I have been very cooperative. But when I draw, I am in charge; I don't have a therapist or a wife bossing me about. I'm left to my own devices, in a world of my own. Drawing was the first skill to come back to me, so it meant the world. If I can draw, what else can I do? It gave me back my confidence in myself. And my dignity."Edwyn Collins: British Birdlife, a collection of his bird drawings, is showing at the Smithfield Gallery, London EC1, until Saturday. Some samples below.