Landscapes, Seascapes, Hedgerows: Dot Wood

15th August to 4th September

"For 40 years I was immersed in the creative processes of students as a teacher of Art and Photography. I began my teaching career in 1978 in Stockport, then moved to warmer climes in the Bahamas to return to the UK in 1985 with a family and two very young children.

For the following 30 years I settled into life at the Woodroffe School, Lyme Regis, through its emergence as a specialist school in the visual arts in my role as Director of Arts.

I had always loved my job, was passionate about working with young people and enthusiastic in leading community projects with children from other schools throughout the local area.  On retirement in 2018 I was excited to have the time to start developing my own creative process and enjoyed painting landscapes and seascapes mostly from the local area, but some from my home in the peak district and holidays in Scotland.

Then in December 2021 my world turned upside down.  I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia and was told that I would be spending possibly the next 6 months in isolation in Poole Hospital.  Chemotherapy began the moment I arrived at hospital and I was very poorly for the next few weeks. 

Once things began to improve I started drawing and every day posted a sketch on my Facebook page along with an update of my current situation regarding blood results and whether my neutrophils were on their way up or down.

Progressing from pencil crayons and an A5 sketchbook I then moved up to A4 and pastels, working initially from my imagination and my hospital surroundings through to developing studies from my photographs that I taken from walks in the local area and also from holidays before lockdown.

I also did some studies of the lovely nurses and they brought in photos of their pets so every day my whole morning was filled with 100% concentration on my composition for the day.

Every day I stuck up my completed drawing on the wall of my room and was able to stare at it for the rest of the day working out what I should do the following day and often getting out of bed to touch up bits that I wasn’t happy with. My skirting board became stained with rainbow shades from the pastels and my lovely cleaning lady and I joked that her mop became the prettiest in the hospital.

 On March 25th 2022 I was discharged with 78 days of drawings and pastel studies completed.

Once back in my studio I rolled out the biggest piece of paper that fitted my table - about 2m x 1m - and began to produce a large scale expressively joyful piece that celebrated my release. Working with acrylic paint and pastel I then continued to develop a series inspired from all the hedgerows and flower studies I had produced whilst in hospital.

 

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Blue and Yellow Flowers, by Dot Wood              Foxgloves, by Dot Wood

I would like to dedicate this show to all the staff on Durlston ward, Poole Hospital and thank them all for their unstinting care in looking after me so well, and for their encouragement and enjoyment of my work."