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Dulux Trade Masters: Craig Hainey

Dulux Trade Masters: Craig Hainey

The very nature of creating a hospital environment offering the best care possible often means that the practicalities of treating patients are put higher up the priority list than decoration and aesthetics. However, in recent years, there has been a growing acceptance that the healthcare environment can have a significant impact on a patient's perception of their medical care and, in some cases, on their actual recovery.

Well-chosen decor is known to contribute to the creation of an environment in which patients can feel comfortable and at ease. The study found that public, patient accommodation and treatment rooms benefit from a softer neutral colour palette. Children's wards, on the other hand, need to be interesting and vibrant using a simple combination of pure accents to create an impression of fun, and clear and unsophisticated colours to reduce anxiety and confusion.

Up until 2015, every year, 160,000 poorly babies, children and young people from all over Scotland have been treated at Glasgow's Royal Hospital for Children, many of whom would have used the physiotherapy room to help them back to health. A typical room of plain painted walls, the hospital trust took the decision to transform a room under designer Linda Barker’s direction, using creative and artistic decorator, Craig Hainey to bring her vision to life.

A decorator of over 23 years' experience, 39-year-old Craig is owner of Ultimate Decor and is from Troon, South Ayrshire. His specialty, he admits, is wallpaper hanging. It seems however, he's also a dab-hand at painting the most intricate, colourful murals because it was this and his use of colour that has earned him the title of Dulux Master in a national competition run by Dulux Trade.

Yorkhill's physiotherapy room was put into Mr Hainey's decorating hands back in March 2011. The brief was simple: to transform a very plain and uninspiring physiotherapy room into a fun and relaxing area where the decor would distract the children from the physiotherapy they had to endure there. Working to interior designer and TV presenter Linda Barker's exotic, tree-scape design, the job took Mr Hainey eight days to prime, prep and paint the 10 by 12 metre treatment room, covering the walls from floor to ceiling in birds, trees, leaves and butterflies.

In creating the mural, Mr Hainey worked to Linda Barker's tree-scape designs but without a final picture to work to he had free reign to create the overall composition. Whilst the mural's features and colour palette are Linda Barker's, the rest is very much Mr Hainey's own design based on trial and error, working out, as he went along, what looked best and in what particular combination of leaves, trees, butterflies and birds.

The background colour was a mixture of three different colours - blues, pinks and white - which were blended together using a graduation technique which softens one colour into another colour by mixing the paints together. The back, middle and foreground of the mural, the vines and jungle like shapes, were then projected onto the wall (using an overhead projector and clear plastic sheets of acetate onto which Linda Barker had sketched out the trees, leaves, birds and butterflies) so that Mr Hainey could draw them freehand onto the wall. The effect of layers was created using different shades of colour (mainly blues, greens and some pink), to give the mural more depth.

Finally, the mural was ready for the finishing touches: the exotic birds and butterflies. This was, for Mr Hainey, the best part of the mural being the most fun and creative element to create as well as the main attraction that the kids would enjoy to help keep their minds off their treatment. The birds were lightly sketched onto the wall, outlined with the appropriate colour and then filled in completely, with the final detailing, such as the feathers, being added to bring them to life.

Twenty-five litres of Dulux Trade paints, 80 hours and one very steady hand later and the full mural was completed.

Mr Hainey says of the project, 'The room was really in need of cheering up and bringing to life. This is where children, some in terrible pain, come to get better and that can only be helped by being surrounded by colourful images of trees, multicoloured butterflies and birds rather than plain walls. Painting a room of this size would normally take me three and half days but because of the intricacy of the mural it took me over a week of 8-10 hour days to complete. That said, it was an absolute joy to do not only because I could be creative with colour and put my artist's skills to the test but also because, ultimately, I was helping sick children to get better.'

Yorkhill Hospital moved to the new Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow earlier this year, so the physiotherapy room there is no longer used by the hospital's young patients. However, it goes without saying that up until the move to the new Royal Hospital for Children, the artwork was very much appreciated by patients and staff alike, a fact confirmed by Kirsten Sinclair, Director of Fundraising at Yorkhill Children's Charity, who said: 'Providing distractions like this in treatment rooms helps to take away some of the stress and anxiety of hospital visits for children. We are incredibly grateful to Mr Hainey for making such a wonderful piece of art for our Physiotherapy room at the hospital. His work was very much loved by children, parents and staff alike.'

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