Artist Anne McLeod has been selected as this year’s A Better Place artist at University Hospital Waterford (UHW). Anne will present a solo exhibition in October 2020 with the aim of making the hospital ‘a better place’ for all. The A Better Place exhibition is managed by Waterford Healing Arts Trust and will take place during the Well Festival of Arts and Wellbeing.
Now in its fifth year, A Better Place has been a consistently popular exhibition among staff, patients and visitors to UHW, humanising the clinical space and helping to alleviate stress and worry. Any visual artist can submit two samples of their work for consideration. Voting is anonymous, with each artwork identified by a number, rather than the artist’s name.
Previous winners include artists Deirdre Dunne (2019), Sinead Hehir (2018), Barry Edwards (2017) and Gemma Hodge (2016). This year, submissions were received from 69 artists. Due to Covid 19-related restrictions, voting was completed by UHW staff online, with Anne McLeod receiving the highest number of votes.
About Anne McLeod
A native of the English Lake District, Anne McLeod has lived most of her adult life in rural Ireland, in County Limerick and, since 1991, in County Wexford. Elected to the Watercolour Society of Ireland in 2000, she subsequently received their Dart and O’Sullivan Graphics Awards. Anne has exhibited extensively nationwide and her work is in several corporate and public collections. She regularly teaches watercolour classes and occasional workshops, and receives private and corporate commissions.
Self-taught as an artist, Anne found her own way with watercolours, discovering its many techniques and creating an individual style and approach. She has been led in this by a love of the Irish countryside, and by the effect of light and shade. Equally, the use of watercolour on paper has captivated her, being so simple and natural and yet so demanding a medium, aiming to achieve its results with a minimum of perfectly judged washes, as paint is laid down in layers from the lightest to the darkest. It is this ‘working backwards’ approach that compels her to focus on the negative shapes in the composition, a procedure which she particularly relishes.
On hearing she had been selected for A Better Place, Anne reflected ‘I love this physical island. I wasn’t born here but I’ve lived here for 40 years and have got to know countless very beautiful places. These are the places off the beaten track that I visit and revisit, the places I paint. When you’re in hospital, you’re in such an unnatural situation: everything is dry and sterile and shut off from the outside world. So, no matter how grateful you are for the care you receive, it’s vital to be reminded of somewhere better, of places that are fresh and wild and peaceful. I need these places for my wellbeing, as I think we all do, so I’m delighted if my paintings nourish other people as they nourish me.’