An artist from Kendal has been inspiring children to develop their creative sides, despite them being out of school for months.

During lockdown, Josh Simpson, who works for Ragtag Arts & Community Scrap Store at Mealbank Mill Industrial Estate, kept youngsters amused while bringing along their artistic skills by setting up ‘Marvellous Art,’ a weekly online group.

Each week Josh, in the character of Monsieur Abstract, created a video about a particular artist, told those in the group what equipment they would need and exhibited the kids’ artwork from the previous week’s session.

Then on the day, the children would all create their own artwork from home while connecting with each other via Zoom, creating a collective of budding young artists.

Jemma Metcalfe-Gibson, whose seven-year-old daughter Lotte Kirkbride was one of those who joined the group, said: “We just stopped and spent the morning doing art together with everybody else.

“It was only a 40-minute Zoom session, but we then carried on for the rest of the morning and it was a really nice break from the usual home schooling stuff.

“It’s also meant that she’s been a lot more creative afterwards - she’s trying lots of different types of material and our kitchen wall is just covered with pictures. She’s absolutely loved it.”

The children loved seeing what everyone else was doing, while Josh was always around to pass on tips on how to paint in the style of different artists.

Through his work with the Community Scrap Store, he is known for preventing ‘waste’ material from going into landfill and turning it into material for his craft.

Mrs Metcalfe-Gibson believes his lessons has given Lotte the artistic bug, saying: “I think it’s really helped with her confidence - at school, she’d tend to copy whoever she was sitting next to.

“But now she’s really confident, knows what she wants to draw and she does it really well.”

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