Half teasing, half serious, a dear friend sent me a call for artist for the University of Ottawa Heart Institute’s “Healing HeART” ceiling tiles project. She wrote, “Found you a new purpose in life!“—suggesting what I could possibly do while being immobile for 2-3 months. She sent it on June 3rd. And, guess what? The deadline was also June 3rd! I composed an application in minutes and sent it off. Two weeks later, an email arrived in my mailbox saying, “Congratulations! Félicitations!” I felt very honoured and excited to be among around 30 Ottawa artists for the project, selected from over a hundred of applicants.
I spent most days of June and July in bed, staring at the ceiling, trying to imagine what kind of image a person who lays on a hospital bed would enjoy seeing. I thought of starting to paint on August 1st. But for the first 13 days of that month I was just staring at the blank tile. I was too scared to start. In my life, I never painted with acrylic (a mandatory medium) or on ceiling tiles! Also, the rule said the art needs to be “calm, open, nature-based scenes”— definitely not my forte. I didn’t know what to paint; additionally, my fingers —due to a recent injury—couldn’t hold painting brushes well (yet). In the end, I just dipped my fingers into a mix of acrylic paint and started painting.
At the end of August, as I stroked my acrylic-stained fingers over the reflection of the moon, the painting was finished. Yes, my first acrylic (finger) painting — on a ceiling tile!
The painting is exhibited on Sept 12th. It will then be displayed permanently on the ceiling of the heart hospital, above one of the patients’ beds. Luckily I didn’t have to hang myself like Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel 😀
Every time I think of this painting, I smile. It warms my heart to know that the “Moonwake” may brighten some people’s days a little.
Below is a 35-second video of the process. It was quite a rewarding journey.