A TRAVELLING musician who was left without a job when the pandemic hit is painting a new picture for his life in a coastal town.

Having had his tour in Germany cancelled back in March last year, Jimmy Monahan came to his mother’s town of Harwich to find his feet amid the uncertainty.

Keen to still find a way to express himself, he dived into the community in a bid to meet people and satisfy his cravings of creativity.

And in 2020, alongside his brother Tom, they formed the Wash Your Hands Brass Band on Easter Sunday and delighted locked-up residents in Harwich and Manningtree.

The pair originally played music for their neighbours to lift spirits up but soon got requests to attend birthdays or wedding anniversaries in exchange for donations.

He was left feeling inspired by the town which welcomed him and has provided warm shelter throughout the past year.

“I started doing community activities and some paintings when I first arrived in Harwich,” he said.

“I would paint pictures of people I met, but really I was kind of a stranger as I didn’t know anyone, so through this I began making friends by meeting people.

“I would paint views, sights, people, any time I saw an opportunity to do so.

“I was impressed with the town as there are so many interesting characters and people to talk to. There are a lot of friendly residents here.

“I think the people of Harwich reacted in a positive way to the pandemic and the community all looked out for each other. I’m glad I was in this town.

“The art soon became a great way to hang out with new faces and being outside was really the only way you could meet them due to the restrictions – so painting became a nice opportunity to hang out.

“It’s what is great about painting, you get to know people and their stories over the hours you spend sat there with them.

“Art and self-expression are very important to me, it’s what I live for.”

Mr Monahan’s art is now on show at an exhibition at the Ebenezer Chapel, in King’s Head Street, Harwich.

You can see all his work inspired by the town until the end of July from 1pm until 4pm, Wednesday to Sunday.