Artist creates gift for care centre

Queen's Park Care Centre holds special event to unveil new large-scale art display by Jill Doyle

How does an artist say thank you?

With art, of course.

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Local artist Jill Doyle found the perfect way to express her thanks to Queen's Park Care Centre for their care of her father - she created original art.

The Queen's Park Healthcare Foundation held a function May 2 to unveil the art - a large-scale display made up of four panels, each representing a meadow theme and emphasizing the butterfly.

"It occurred to me that the Queen's Park Care Centre is situated on land that was once part of a meadow," Doyle explains in a press release. "I chose the idea of a meadow and butterflies because it both connects to the past and speaks to the themes of transformation and renewal that are universal to almost every culture. Everyone understands the symbolism of butterflies."

Doyle noted that the care centre holds special meaning for her.

"I wanted to give back to Queen's Park Care Centre because my late father attended the adult day program there and our family, especially my mother, benefited so much from that program," she explains. "The staff is amazing."

Doyle emphasized blue and green hues in her work, noting the calming effects those colours have on the central nervous system.

"Colour has such a huge impact on mood - even one wall that is painted a bold colour can make a difference," she says.

She notes that she had several aims with the art - she wanted the scale of the work to provide a visual focus for the large open area of the dining room, and the wanted the colours to be bright and uplifting for residents, staff and visitors.

"It was especially important that the imagery in the paintings be accessible to those with perceptual or cognitive difficulties - this mean intense hues and simple, clearly defined forms," she notes. "At the same time, I wanted the composition to have a level of complexity that would sustain attention. As an artist, I enjoyed exploring the idea of transparencies; the layering of images over pattern.

"The goal is to be drawn to the familiar: the simple imagery of butterflies set against the colours of grass and sky; to be calmed, reflective and connected with what you see."

Doyle is an artist, educator and author living in New Westminster. She studied graphic design and illustration as a young woman, but she found a more satisfying career in helping adults with physical and intellectual challenges to create art in therapeutic settings.

For the past 15 years she has worked as a visual arts teacher and has created many collaborative murals with children around the Lower Mainland.

The special unveiling event was attended by city councilors Bill Harper and Betty McIntosh and Miss New Westminster Claire Dresselhuis.

It also served as a chance to recognize the commitment of a core group of care centre volunteers - some of whom have been helping out for more than 15 years.

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