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  • Writer's pictureJina Gelder

Snowdog Stories

The Great North Snowdogs project aims to raise money and awareness for the St Oswald’s Hospice Children’s services. Sixty one large dogs and a whole pack of puppies were decorated by artists and schools respectively and the larger ones will be auctioned off to raise money in December. Each of the large snow dogs had a sponsor and mine was sponsored by Chart UK for St Oswald's themselves as they wanted a larger dog. The staff were keen for the dog to be painted at the hospice so the children could see the progress and be involved.

Initially my ‘Wild North East’ design was simply to celebrate the natural world in the North East. However, after meeting with the staff and children at St. Oswald’s Hospice I adapted my design to include more elements that meant something to the young people, staff and families involved. For example, butterflies have short but beautiful lives and dandelions relate to rooms within the hospice. I also included a wooden sign post on the front of my snowdog to list all the places the children live who are currently using the hospice plus an extra mini sign as a nod to the hedgehog house in one of the hospices’ gardens.

The project has been a fantastic change in how I normally work. The 3D canvas was a new challenge which I enjoyed and it was a great way in which I could help support a worthy cause. I had some logistical issues with my normal medium being watercolour. I obviously couldn't use this on a 3D object so I experimented by mixing acrylics with a glazing medium to get them to a translucent state which would then show all the layers in my work. The inks could largely be applied as normal with one substitution of a brush pen instead of my dip pens as the nibs wouldn't work on the surface.

Alongside the larger pooch I worked on a pup with the children in the service and came up with a design they could use their fingers to paint and then I embellished to finish off beautiful butterflies and again the sign posts of where the children come from.

As mentioned the dogs are to be auctioned off in December but St Oswald's are hoping to raise money to be able to buy ‘Wild’ for themselves. The children, staff and families watched him being created every brush of the way in the physiotherapy room and with all the elements of the design being sentimental for the hospice they can’t bare to see him go. They have set up a Just Giving page here if you are interested in helping their fundraising efforts.

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