Drawn in Residence: Staff Wellbeing

Drawn in Residence II, Drawing in Personal Practice

Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust staff

As part of the Drawn In Residence II programme, staff from Chelsea and Westminster Foundation Trust were invited to submit drawings they have created in their own time and practice as tools for their own positive mental health, or to promote wellbeing within the Trust.

Ms Luna Dhir, MBBS MS DNB MMed FRCSEd FRCOphth, Consultant Ophthalmologist, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer, Imperial College London

I have taken up art as a hobby relatively recently and am finding it immensely enjoyable. Drawing and painting in my free time help me to relax at the end of a hectic though productive week at work. In fact, art seems to me to be a form of meditation that helps me to stay mindful and focussed in the present moment. Drawing has contributed significantly to my well-being and work life balance in the past few challenging months and has been a useful modality of self-expression. I have been able to enhance my creative skills and also further sharpen my powers of observation. While abstract drawing helps me to delve into the depths of my psyche and come out with some meaningful original artwork, I relish the intricacy and detail involved in hyper realistic drawing. I also indulge in ink pen drawing, portraits, sharsh, still life and plein air sketching. As a seasoned Ophthalmologist, I am used to paying attention to detail and doing minute and intricate surgery; however drawing for relaxation takes me to another realm altogether, where only I, my pencil and my paper exist.

Andrea Weigert, Consultant Anaesthetist, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital

I use my little sketchbook to make notes for craft projects, capture ideas or paint for fun. For example, there is a sketch for my goddaughter’s 10th birthday cake (with an Airbender theme), a small windowsill greenhouse, design ideas for a copper foiled glass panel for a fireplace, and some pattern ideas for a quilt with hexagon ‘flowers’- I make one of those with leftover material from every sewing project I do, so eventually I will have a ‘memory quilt’ for the various things I have sewn over the years.

When we had our recent ‘Positivity week’ at the Trust, we made little oval notes for each person in our department with a chocolate on them and put them in the pigeon holes. Ideas for all those things come to me often when I have a little downtime, and I develop and capture them in the sketchbook. I also do little watercolours for fun when on holiday and find that the process of painting is more important than the quality of the result (which is just as well!). When I paint, it helps me to really look at something, take in the details, creating more vivid memories and makes me feel as if I am more fully present.

Susan Brook, SpR Care of the Elderly, West Middlesex University Hospital

I started enjoying drawing as a child, initially drawing cartoons for fun for friends, or on their birthday cards or as birthday gifts.  Then, after dropping it after GCSEs, I pretty much stopped drawing.

I restarted again recently when, after realising that juggling 2 children and a full-time job was hard work, I needed some 'me-time' to relax.  I draw at the kitchen table in the evenings, for 10 minutes to 1 hour. I draw for me, friends' children, take requests for friends.

I'm better with pencils/pens. I can't paint at all!  It's an ideal hobby to help me just switch off.

Laura Darbyshire, Senior Staff Nurse in HIV/GUM

I have recently undertaken the project in October as part of managing my health and wellbeing, meditative practice and relaxing outside of work during the COVID-19 pandemic.