Artist inspired by her patients at SickKids

Gloria Green

TORONTO — Gloria Green, 48, balances her life between two passions.

By day she is a pediatric clinical dietitian at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, and on nights and weekends, she is an artist.

A member of the SickKids oncology team for 16 years, Green said that she transfers the feelings and sentiments she absorbs during the day into large pieces of abstract art.

“Providing nutritional care and support for children with cancer and their families can be challenging at times, yet it is rewarding because I’m given a chance to make a difference in their lives. Their bravery inspires me.

“My painting acts as an outlet. During the process of working on a piece, I can go through several emotions.

“My work is a channel for my self-expression. I’m reliving the emotions, stresses and rewards from my work. It is a good release for me. It’s not unlike the release runners get from a good run.”

A classically trained pianist who wrote her own music, Green said she began painting seven or eight years ago when she moved into a new loft apartment with bare walls and high ceilings.

“I had always been interested in design, colour and space, so I bought a canvas and began painting. I was hooked.”

She studied abstract painting under Lydia Parnat at the Avenue Road School of Art and then attended the Toronto School of Art.

“Now, I can’t imagine not painting. My walls are covered with abstract pieces, and some are taller than me,” said Green, who stands just at under five feet.

Recently, she said, she donated a painting to SickKids. “It was a long process. The hospital has an art committee, and I had to submit a package explaining my work.”

The painting, now hanging in the oncology day hospital, is done in blue, yellow and green acrylic, “and I added water to give it lots of movement. It can be uplifting, but because it’s abstract, it can be interpreted in different ways.”

She favours acrylic paint, she said, because it is non-toxic and versatile. “It can be thickened or diluted.”

When she begins a painting, said Green, she takes brush directly to canvas. “I don’t draw anything ahead of time. I ruminate in terms of my mood and what inspires me, and I plan my palette in my mind.”

Most of her paintings are non-representational, she said, but in one mixed-media work, she shredded paper to represent trees.

Green’s art is on exhibit until Dec. 23, with an art party – Green will be present and everyone is welcome – scheduled for Dec. 15 between 7 and 9 p.m., at Toronto’s Wellington Street Art Gallery, 270 Wellington St. W., Suite 105.