VIDEO: A mural for Kootenay Lake Hospital

Nicole Hobbs painted fawns, bears and a sleeping fox for the pediatric room

It took her six days.

Nelson artist Nicole Hobbs wasn’t entirely sure what she was going to paint when she set out to create a mural for the pediatrics room of Kootenay Lake hospital, but she knew the vibe she was going for.

“When I paint, I try to put myself in the place of the subject and really connect with the energy I want to be felt,” Hobbs told the Star.

“I wanted this mural to be playful, to be captivating, so the children have so much to look at it never really gets tiring. It brings me right into the place of wonder, right to the mountaintops, with the sun coming through the trees.”

And that’s how she hopes young patients will feel too.

“The fact that they are healing, or maybe sitting in a space where it’s possibly hard for them to come out of where they’re at, being in this small room alone — I wanted them to feel peace, wanted to bring them happiness so they can relax.”

She wants them to “dream of mountaintops and pastures full of flowers.”

Hobbs has been living in Nelson for the past decade, after a 5-year stint in Mexico, and it was during her time in the Kootenays she started really taking her practice seriously. With two kids in tow, she said it’s been a slow process — but ArtWalk 2012 was a highlight, and now she’s showing at local venues such as the Craft Connection, Red Light Ramen and Oso Negro.

“I’m just getting to the point where I’m displaying my art other places, like Deadwood Junction in Greenwood, and it’s funny because a lot of Nelson people seem to have bought pieces from there.”

She’s also showing in places like Christina Lake and Fernie, and with the work she’s putting out these days Hobbs likes to throw in strange or unexpected colours where she can — a purple tinge to a grizzly bear, for instance. She likes to leave a “looseness” to her process so her mind can explore.

“With my palette, I mix colours and only use primary colours, so I can get a harmonic look through the painting. Sometimes I’ll mix something and go ‘wow, this is a great colour’ and then I’ll throw it in.”

Though she was donating her time, Hobbs received a honorarium. The administration have been effusive in their praise for the artwork, which should be on display for years to come.

“I love thinking about all the different kids who will look up from this bed, and that’s what they’re going to see,” said Hobbs.