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Painting from the heart

01 Sep 2006 / 0 Comments / in about art, natural world

In the spring I was contacted by someone from Southampton University Hospital who was looking for pictures. She found me through the Artweeks website, saw my painting Thames Magic at Eynsham and knew immediately I could make the paintings she wanted for some waiting rooms in their new cardiac unit.

She wanted Thames Magic, but it’s not for sale. I said I could paint something for her in a similar spirit.

She told me that the people who will use the waiting rooms may have just heard very bad news about their loved ones, be feeling hopeless, vulnerable or even just bereaved. She said she wanted some pictures to uplift viewers and provide something beautiful, thought-provoking and spiritual – without being overtly religious – to inspire hope. I was honoured that she felt that my paintings might be able to offer some solace to people. If my paintings could offer the tiniest crumb of comfort, then it would be worth the effort.

She wanted landscapes featuring water and wildlife, air, light and colour. Right up my street, then! My ideas were entirely based on what I would like to look at if I was feeling hopeless, frightened or sad.

I first painted Fields of magic at Uffington:

It features a lark flying over the chalky landscape of Uffington, the highest point in Oxfordshire and various native species of butterflies lurking into the fields. The Ridgeway, the oldest road in continuous use in Europe, snakes its way off into the distance on the right.
Float on followed. The inspiration for this came from a fishing trip with my son.

I blogged about how this painting developed here.

And finally I made Summer meadow.

Some people might say that money is wasted on art in hospitals, that money should be spend on nurses and doctors. Maybe. Drugs and nursing staff may be able to treat the physiological; but a positive spirit, helped perhaps by a beautiful image, can feed the soul in ways that transcend science, such is the power of the human mind.

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