Singing Sunflowers - A message of love for children receiving palliative care

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Singing Sunflowers - A message of love for children receiving palliative care

The vibrant painting ‘Singing Sunflowers’, created by artist Laura Hare in 2020, was created to send out a message of love instead of fear when people think of children receiving paediatric care.

The artwork is a feast for the eyes. The musical notes floating through Laura’s painting signify how music stimulates happy hormones, enhancing joy, motivation, memories, cognitive and physical benefits. The emotive colours evoke joy and have warming, calming and comforting effects. The three magnificent sunflowers – a flower of love and joy – immediately draw and light the eye. They position themselves towards the sun or towards one another for connection, warmth and light. Together, the elements and colours of ‘Singing Sunflowers’ beautifully tell a story of the deep complexities and needs of people at any stage of life, but particularly those in need of palliative care.

A "life-enhancing project"

Laura Hare has always been a creative, enjoying painting as a hobby, but admits she has never actually referred to herself as an artist. “I’m relatively new to painting. I painted my first acrylic on canvas around four years ago, so I feel beyond honoured to have ‘Singing Sunflowers’ chosen to represent a truly life-enhancing project.”

Laura hopes that her painting will bring greater awareness that all children who need palliative care – and their families – still need colour and wonder and in their daily lives and that they can still experience quality joy despite the challenges of palliative care.

She is also a strong believer in the importance of quality paediatric palliative care. “For children and their families, having the right kind of support can mean the difference between simply enduring one’s existence, or actually experiencing quality of life with peace and love and joy. Having the right care means addressing all levels, physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, so that a person (child) can live their life to the fullest enrichment and be true to themselves.”

The uplifting effects of art

Inspired by bright, beautiful and energetic colours, along with animals and flowers, Laura loves interpreting what she sees around her and creating art that expresses deep emotion, saying: “I really enjoy how self-expression, combined with exaggeration of observation and imagination can create all kinds of stories.”

Convinced that the uplifting effects of art can stay with a person long after they have experienced the art, Laura explains some of the inspiration behind ‘Singing Sunflowers’, the biggest art project and painting she has created.

“I was sitting and thinking about how I would love to express what inner joy and happiness feels like. I struggle with depression and physical health issues, so I wanted to create a painting that represents – through imagery, symbolism and colours – the uplifting feeling of what being connected to love and life feels like”

Feelings of joy, hope and acceptance

What was going through Laura’s mind as she planned and painted the artwork?

“Love, lots of love!” laughs Laura, adding, “And feelings of joy, hope and acceptance! I don’t paint using structural or artistic techniques, I tune in to the love and hope inside me and just keep adding layers of colours based on the energy and stories I feel those layers of paint express.”

“When people, especially children, look at Singing Sunflowers I hope they realise that even if you’re struggling physically and/or mentally, you can still find and experience inner joy and connection to love and hope. I hope it helps people embrace the wonder and beauty of their uniqueness too.”

Laura believes that art has an important role in helping people, young or old, who may need palliative care. “When we experience art, we are living in the moment. It can bring us into a present state of diverse experiences and emotions – such as wonder, awe, imagination, hope, energy, clarity, motivation, inspiration, memories, connections, goals, creativity – and can help to physically feel at ease.”

“Those who are in palliative care and may not be able to physically travel, art can transport us via the imagination and memories and create possibilities.”