Sarah Britten Art

Paintings in lipstick

Hospital Paintings

I’ve painted in some interesting places, but this is the first time I’ve turned a hospital bed into an art studio. A preeclampsia scare saw me spend the past week in Sunninghill Hospital. A commission for an agency client came through just as I was bundled into bed and placed on medication, so my husband brought in some of my materials and I used the opportunity to do some experimenting. This portrait is based on one of the 4D scans of our 28 week old daughter. I think she looks a little like an elf here:


The nurses and midwives here were fascinated, and to thank them, I thought I would create a painting inspired by my stay here.


I started out with a colour field and then rubbed in the imagery using a makeup wipe, earbuds and a ball point pen.

The subject was an obvious one: a galloping horse, inspired by the sound of the foetal Doppler.  My baby appears as a face in the moon, an image I took from a 4D scan, a slightly different angle from an earlier painting which I’m currently using as my Facebook and Twitter profile pictures. I had initially planned to place her on the back of the galloping horse, but this made more sense. Painting in this way can be maddeningly imprecise – you either end up with a happy accident or a disaster. Bear in mind that the light quality is not ideal, so this isn’t a true reflection of the colours – but you get the idea.

The note reads: “To the nurses and midwives of Sunninghill Maternity Ward, thank you for having my numbers.” I’ve included the figures of my blood pressure readings as well the foetal Doppler, along with butterflies – a recurring theme that appears in a lot of my work. It will take a while for the work to dry, but once it does, I will frame it and bring it back to the ward. I’m scheduled to be back here some time in late April, when the baby is properly due. Until then, I need her to stay exactly where she is.


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