It was an honour to be asked by Darling Downs Health to create a collection of paintings presented at their annual staff award I loved the idea of giving art instead of certificates or trophies but also painting for this client felt strangely serendipitous.
The event went ahead online after the live award night was postponed. So rather than speaking in person as originally planned, Darling Downs Health visited me in the studio to chat about about my process, my recent hospital experience and the works I made for them. Check out the video they made for their staff.
At the end of 2021 I was going through all sorts of uncertainty and hospital visits to find a diagnosis and make my way through treatment for an autoimmune disease. Now that I am in good health, looking back on my experiences at The Toowoomba Base Hospital inspired the works I created.
I drew from my own personal encounters, the compassion the staff showed me and the courage they instilled in me at my weakness moments. What could have been a scary part of my life was a little less daunting because of the people who cared for me.
So thank you to all the individuals who were so kind when just doing their job and to Darling Downs Health for asking me to paint for them. What a memorable way to say thank you and sum up my whirlwind medical adventure.
The end result was two series of hand-painted original artworks on archival quality paper, provided in matching white frames. Framed works were chosen rather than small canvases to be suitable for display in the home or office (yes in the hospital if desired) with each frame fitted with a hook for wall hanging and a stand to be displayed on a shelf or desk.
The first was series of six rectangular works sized 27.5 x 22.5cm awarded to individual staff award categories of Compassion, Integrity, Dignity, Innovation and Courage (x 2 winners). This was a challenging and rewarding exercise to sit and focus on each theme and then produce a few works to see what best portrayed that feeling. Thank you to my peers and family for being soundboards and critics through the design stage.
The second collection was my concept for a group award; a set of ten small, square works (nine shown below) similar in style but unique in their colours and composition. Let's say they were in the same family but had very different personalities (much like the dynamic of many work teams I have experienced). This category reflected vision and community and their imagery was created after a few weeks of plein-air sketching from Picnic Point look out and Mt Peel Bushland Reserve, my two favourite hiking spots close to home. I made a secret eleventh painting in the collection to keep for myself an a memento of the whole experience. I am considering continuing this series as my travels expand now that I am back on my feet and back on hiking trails.