A colourful commission for a play therapy charity

Posted on April 5, 2017

I have recently finished a painting commission for the really inspiring play therapy charity Clear Sky in Oxfordshire – and here are the results!

My brief was to create some work which would brighten up the corridors of the charity’s offices, and to be used in their large and light training room during events. It had to be colourful and include their logo ‘Sunny’.  I decided to produce a series of three canvases that all tied in together and created a sort of visual journey through the play therapy process.



A lot of my work is made in response to how I am feeling – which makes my pieces very energetic and expressive, so in order to make these pieces I tapped into how it might feel as a child to experience play therapy, and drew on my own experiences of having art therapy.  The first piece (so looking at the paintings from left to right) represents the slightly turbulent feelings associated with starting therapy – trying to capture the uncertainty felt about what was about to happen, and the difficult emotions that have as yet been hard to articulate.  The second piece captures the feeling of having play therapy – the colours represent the energy from the play, and also the warmth of being in a safe space, feeling held by the therapist.  And finally, the third piece is about leaving therapy – feeling calmer, lighter, freer – like a warm summers day with a lovely clear sky!

Talking through the pieces with the lovely Jodie from Clear Sky in my studio

I had been looking for an opportunity to work on a large scale again, after thoroughly enjoying creating my recent wall mural, so was really pleased to work with this charity to create something for them.  As Clear Sky are based in an old manor house, painting directly on the walls wasn’t really an option unfortunately, so I produced three large canvasses instead.I have to say I was quite daunted by the prospect, having not painted on canvas for about 10 years, and certainly not on that scale!  So I’m really happy with how they turned out.

All three pieces were painted with my fingers rather than brushes (apart from painting Sunny), which is a way of working I am really enjoying using at the moment – it is a really quick, tactile and direct way of working with paint.  It was really interesting applying this to canvas – actually very absorbing and relaxing.  And as I had some canvases spare, and some paint left over, I started experimenting, and the following series of sky and seascapes came out of that!  I’m going to be exhibiting this new series in my exhibition as part of Art Weeks, so do come along and see them in my studio – all of these pieces will be for sale.

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