A PAINTER who was forced to give up her craft after a serious accident is throwing open the doors to her studio this weekend.

Mary Parsons, originally from Eldene, was severely injured in a road traffic accident in Leeds.

The accident meant that Mary, now 39, was forced to put her art on hold for almost a decade.

“I found it difficult to sit still,” she said. “With painting, you’ve got to concentrate really hard for a long time. For a few years after the incident I was struggling with panic attacks.”

Mary found that art was crucial to her recovery, taking up felt making.

This weekend, Mary, who now works for Swindon Borough Council, will open her studio for the first time for Swindon Open Studios.

She will join 60 other painters, potters and woodworkers throwing open their studio doors.

Visitors to her home, which backs on to Lawn Woods, can expect to see the walls covered in Mary’s stunning colourful canvases – showing landscapes and city scenes from across the world.

Painter Mary said of painting in vibrant oils and acrylic paints: “It makes you feel more lively. I think there’s a time and a place for more mellow colour.”

An artistic child, Mary was always going to pursue a future in the arts.“When I was young I was always drawing,” she said.

But she had to fight to paint.

She left home for Yorkshire, studying art at Bretton Hall - an art college set in the centre of the world-famous Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Mary was there to study sculpture, but found herself rebelling against her tutors. “I was always fighting against the tutors. They felt I should be doing sculpture, but I just enjoyed painting.”

“I often go back for inspiration to the photos and sketches of Yorkshire, particularly ones I took in my local park 20 years ago. It was a perfect autumn day and I’ve always loved those warm colours,’’ said Mary.

As an adult, she was often moving – living in Surrey, Luton and Yorkshire. Finding the space for art was difficult in shared houses.

So when she moved back to Swindon with her partner two years ago, she was relieved to find a house with a studio.

She said of her conservatory studio: “It’s all been covered in plastic, because it’s a rented house. It’s a really nice space, because it’s so bright.”

Mary is looking forward to showing visitors into her studio this weekend.

“I’m hoping to make some giant brushes and leave them outside the house,” she said. “I wondered whether to get a massive canvas and give people a big square to paint.”

Mary will be exhibiting her work at 8 Cardigan Close, Lawn, on the weekends of September 9-10 and 16-17, 11am – 5pm. For more, visit: www.maryparsons.info.

To see all the Swindon Open Studios artists, visit: www.swindonopenstudios.org.uk.