Earlier this year, I had the good fortune to be commissioned to paint three murals for children at the fancy new Byron Community Hospital. This has been a life-long dream of mine and I feel very grateful for the opportunity. The hospital staff (the CEO, nurses, tradies, researchers, security staff, etc.) were wonderful. And the freshly painted blank walls in neutral tones became wonderfully giant blank canvases to me!
This third mural is in the Paediatric Gym: a place where little ones go to bend and stretch and heal broken bones. I painted large, gentle creatures on ground level so that young children go up and interact with them.
My hope is that the artwork might inspire and distract children a little from any fear or pain they may be experiencing in a potentially frightening hospital environment.
Byron Hospital – Reception
The second of three murals I was commissioned to paint at the wonderful new Byron Community Hospital. This one is on a large wall in the children's play area in the main reception (hence the safety glass fence). These painted characters grew out of looking back at my found object sculptures.
There's rusty Mister Lockwood who — looking like he's just stepped out of some one-horse town saloon — is a hopeless romantic, offering a rose to his beloved.
Chamomilla dons a crown full of chamomile flowers — a plant treasured for healing properties such as reducing headaches, easing bellyache and calming the nerves... pretty handy to combat the nerves of hospital visits.
Galaxy Eyes, with eyes full of stars, has just flown down from outer space to offer flowers to patients and dance a little cheery jig.
And Miss Aloe Vera is ready to heal and soothe skin from the ravages of sunburn from falling asleep for too long on Byron's beautiful beaches nearby.
Byron Hospital – Emergency
This is the first of three murals I was commissioned to paint for the brand new Byron Community Hospital. This mural is in the children's play area of the Emergency Department waiting room.
I was asked to paint birds with medicinal plants. I selected Aloe Vera, Calendula and Holy Basil. Plus gum trees, because they're magical.
I used warm, bright colours to entertain children but with soft, gentle imagery in order to soothe both patients and anxiously waiting loved ones in Emergency.
Greenhouse Grocer are doing wonderful things for vegetables! They source all of their produce as locally as possible, and spray-free or organic too. This means that local farmers are getting paid well for the fruits of their labour and customers are getting super fresh vegies that don't cost the Earth in terms of fossil fuels consumed for transportation.
To celebrate, I painted some rather botanical-style images of vegetables on their walls, a pumpkin and shovel, and a portrait of their beloved pet carp on the floor 'pond' below the stairwell.
Santos Organics commissioned me to snazzy up their back garden in order to create a more inviting eating and play area.
Lismore Hospital – Room 13
I'm so pleased to have been given the opportunity to create artwork designed especially to cheer up sick munchkins in the new Lismore Base Hospital.
The commission to paint a jungle theme in this room was perfect as Lismore is surrounded by stunning rainforest remnants of 'The Big Scrub'.
Red-eyed frogs, Rose-Crowned Fruit Doves, butterflies, a possum and a Spotted Quoll play amongst the soothing green foliage and freshwater pond.
Lismore Hospital – Room 10
The brief for the mural in this bedroom on the children's ward was to paint a small, vignette-style image, using somewhat muted colours.
Considering that children are drawn to bright colours, I included some small splashes of reds and yellows and a rainbow to inspire hope and upliftment, whilst featuring large areas of blue and turquoise for soothing and relaxation. I feel that the careful choice of colour can be an effective aid to healing.
This mural project landed smack-bang in the middle of a month of delightfully sunny North Coast winter days, during which I saw many migrating whales strutting their stuff in spectacular breaches and fountain-like water spouts along the beaches of nearby Byron Bay.
After breeding in the warm waters of the Far North, you can often see mother and baby whales heading back down south together. I chose to include this symbology to reassure frightened young patients that they are not alone.