An artist who has used her experience living with Parkinson’s to inspire had her work viewed by the Princess Royal.

Ali Blevins, from North Berwick, had her art on display when Princess Anne visited Leuchie House this month in celebration of its 10th anniversary.

The royal was touring the facility, which offers short stays to those living with neurological conditions, and was shown the room in which Ali’s works adorned all the walls.

Unfortunately, Ali was forced to miss the engagement due to Covid-19 but was still honoured that the princess was able to enjoy her pieces.

Her exhibition at Leuchie includes a series of self-portraits, influenced by her experiences of Parkinson’s – covering themes like her vivid dreams, changing diet and her creative journey so far.

Ali said: “It’s always nice when your work gets chosen for an exhibition but to have so many pieces on display and for such an important occasion was a real honour.

“They are also hung in such a beautiful room. I probably already had enough work, but after I had seen the Aviemore room, I really wanted to paint some pictures to complement the space.”

Ali started her painting journey shortly after her diagnosis, at first as a type of physiotherapy but it would bring many other benefits.

Ali said: “I began painting after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, initially as a form of physiotherapy, but I soon realised it was a form of mental therapy too.

“Drawing, painting and writing are all means by which I can either escape from the worries of having Parkinson’s, or if I need to, express those worries and concerns. They also provide opportunities for me to work my brain without getting stressed. A lot of my art involves problem-solving as well as abstract thought and coordination of ideas.

“I would highly recommend anyone with a neurological condition to give any creative activity a go – whether it be art, music, writing whatever catches your interest.

“The lovely thing about art is you need very little to get you started, just some paper and a pencil, and also that art is so subjective you can’t really do it wrong.”

The former primary school teacher, only started her artistic journey in 2017 and has received much acclaim. She encouraged others to break down the barriers living with a life-altering condition can bring.

Ali said: “Creating artwork has been the perfect vehicle for helping me come to terms with having Parkinson’s disease. It enables me to work through my stresses, let off steam and express how I am feeling. It has also taken me on an incredible journey.

“Living with Parkinson’s is like being in a permanent fight with your body and sometimes the creative process can feel like that too.

“For every good drawing or painting, there is one in the bucket.

“That’s why I describe most of my successes as ‘happy accidents’.”