I hope and pray this never happens, but for the moment, Imagine you are in bed in a hospital, nursing home, or rehabilitation facility. You are anxious, feeling depressed and worried about all the things you are not able to do. If your view in your room included an image like this, can you think of a word or two that describes how it makes you feel?
Someone once wrote this to me: "Your painting is the first thing I see when I come home from work at night. It brings me the peace I otherwise only find on the mountain". I treasure these words, and they are the goal of my work, no matter what the subject.
"Reflections on the Bay"
Shown at the Royal Watercolour Society's Exhibit of Contemporary Art, London, UK
30 x 38"
Yesterday I visited a friend who is in a rehabilitation residence. As you walk in, it’s beautifully spacious, colorful, very attractive furnishings with chairs and low tables; it looks as if you would just want to sit right down with a good book, or a cup of tea and a chat with a friend. Then I walked way down the hall and into her room. It’s divided in two by a heavy curtain. There’s a window on one end and a mounted TV on the other. You would strain your neck trying to look at the screen if that was something you cared to do. It was so depressing just to be there. Imagine knowing it would be three to four (or more) weeks before you could go home.
I came out of there picturing how that room could look. What a difference it would make if there were lovely neutral colors on the walls, the bed was turned on an angle so that the person (not “patient”) could see the light through the window, even if there was no view. And most of all, I could see paintings on the walls with images of lakes and mountains, flower gardens, wooded glens with sparkling streams, big skies with and seascapes.
It has been scientifically proven that our environment has a powerful influence on our emotional well-being. Of all places, this is one example of an opportunity to change the lives of the people who are there. There are people of all ages needing physical therapy. Think what a teenager would like to see on the walls? Glittering ski slopes, famous sports figures in action - their music heroes.
Homogenization is a terrible concept. I want to race around to all of the rooms in nursing homes, rehabilitation residences, hospitals, every place where people are lying in a bed and fix it!
But what to do? Contact art consultants who work with the corporations who build and operate these facilities. Have a discussion. They are in the business of decorating and furnishing, with a definite budget. Talk to them about prints, if they can’t purchase originals. Recommend other artists whose work would be appropriate for the surroundings. Ask for ideas. It can’t hurt to try.