The Artist Paul Klee continues to provide inspiration to many of our painting days. His gentle water colours are inviting to those who have little painting experience; his use of geometric shapes to evoke a sense of the city or a landscape without insisting on detail and perspective offers people a chance to experiment and see the world differently. Klee’s careful, playful, considered, use of colour also offers a lot to explore for the new (and experienced) painter.
At the BS Koirala Memorial Cancer Hospital we showed a selection of paintings to the patients and their families. As we had already been using shapes as the basis of the morning session, now we focussed on painting. I brought a set of watercolours from Australia with us – a collection of strange colours as far as water colours are concerned – pastel pinks, blues, mauves, green as well as the usual brighter yellow, blue and red. We also have a lot of brushes to share. Five years of running art programs in Nepal and India has certainly taught us to expect that no-one will have anything. The hospital is no exception; they have one paint brush.
After lunch most of the children were resting or being treated. There was a young boy, maybe aged 7-8 who was very keen to start. I showed him the pictures on my laptop. He was fascinated, with Paul Klee and the laptop. He has incredible focus and was able to draw elements of design out of the pictures to create his own contribution to a group painting. From time to time he got stuck and didn’t know what to do next, but a little prompt regarding shape, colour or brush size and use got him started again.
Lots of people dipped in and out of the painting session throughout the afternoon. However, there was one other person who was there from start to finish:
Caring for a loved one with cancer is extremely difficult. During the afternoon we noticed that it was the parents and carers who were most involved. The gentle colours, some restful music and chatter helps relieve some of the intensity of the hospital, the illness, the treatment and the caring. It gives people a little time and space to rest their minds, and have some time out from fear and worry.
This is an Artists in Community International Project created during MakeDoTell 2017. It was made possible by the generosity of our many supporters who donate the funds required for us to provide our skills and services in India and Nepal. A big thanks to our colleague Asmita Rajbanshi, a social worker, who joined us to support this project, Samir who runs the recreation program for children, and Morgane Jophet, a wonderful young volunteer from France.