Landscapes, Seascapes, Hedgerows: Dot Wood

15th August to 4th September


28 May 1955 - 24 July 2022

The following was written by Dot herself, to explain the inspiration behind this exhibition that she was so looking forward to showing.

Tragically, in mid-July, Dot's leukaemia returned, and she sadly passed away soon after.  Please read to the end for the tribute from Dot's husband, Ian. We hope you will join us in the gallery to see Dot's beautiful work, as she was so happy to be sharing it.

"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 Leukaemia 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 taken whilst in hospital.            

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."

Dot's husband, Ian, writes:

"Dot’s spell in Poole Hospital seemed to focus her mind intensely on where she wanted her art to go.  Rather than dwelling on the cruel hand fate had dealt her, she only ever looked forward to when it would all be behind her and she could get on with living again. As soon as she was back home and in her studio, she worked with greater passion and purpose than I had ever seen. She was thrilled to secure this exhibition at Symondsbury, telling a close friend with whom she swam every morning that she was ready, after all these years, to have her work affirmed by sharing it with the wider public. She was busy, happy, and apparently well.

Then in mid-July her leukaemia returned with a speed and severity that overcame even her legendary fighting spirit. She was gone from us in only a few days. Almost the last thing she said to me was that she wanted her exhibition to go ahead. I promised her it would, and thanks to Phil and Christine here it is. My heart bursts with pride to see it hang here for all the world to see, but breaks that she is not here to enjoy it with us.

She would, I am sure, want me to add her thanks to the staff of Fortuneswell Ward in Dorchester who did everything they could for her in that last week.

Dot lived as she worked – with positivity and love. Her glass was always half full, more often than not with a paintbrush standing in it as she contemplated the next beautiful view."