July 3, 2020

A Picture Says a Thousand Words

When Marianne in Year 7 saw a mother’s emotional message about missing her daughter during lockdown, she responded with compassion and creativity.

Eleanor Hobbes, a resident of Henley, who had been distancing from her daughter, wrote on Facebook about how tough it was for families not able to see each other during lockdown. Extraordinarily, she was thrilled to later receive a painting of her daughter, gifted by Marianne, who worked from the photo shared on social media.

“I really wanted to do the picture. It took me an afternoon and I used pastels for the outline and then I used paints and pencils to colour it in. During this time, Eleanor hasn’t been able to see her daughter, so it was all the more reason for me to want to do it. It was quite heart-warming that she liked it so much.” Marianne commented.

Little did Eleanor know, that updating Facebook with Marianne’s random act of kindness would attract attention from as far as Australia and New Zealand, and result in numerous others sending their artistic mementos of her daughter, Felicity-Jay. Eleanor remarked “[It] has had a snowball effect and I now have about 20 pictures of my little girl!” The mother looks forward to reflecting on this period and showing her daughter just how much she was missed during lockdown with a memory box of the pictures.

“Marianne I am so proud of you for teaching others the impact of kind gestures… You are incredibly talented and have one of the kindest hearts I’ve ever encountered.” Eleanor wrote on Facebook. Leaving a bag of goodies outside the family’s door, she continued, “Marianne was really sweet and I wanted to make sure her hard work was recognised.”

Marianne was first shown the post by her father, Caoilte, who said “I saw Eleanor’s post and mentioned it to Marianne who is naturally quite enthusiastic and really likes drawing. It was such a lovely thing to do and it is brilliant that lots of other people have done drawings too. It must be nice for Eleanor.”

The pair soon decided to team up and produce a picture for the NHS, which has since been donated to the Royal Berkshire Hospital. In order to produce the painting, the canvas went to and from Caversham to Henley, as Marianne and Eleanor took it in turns to paint. The canvas, acrylic paints and brushes were even kindly donated by another giving couple.

The painting features a pair of clapping hands; one filled with small colourful hearts and the other with overlapping rainbows, and was completed through the exchange of ideas over messaging. Marianne said “I did all of the colouring in. The first hand took about a week-and-a-half and the second one with the rainbows probably only took a morning to do.”

Eleanor added “I was a lot like Marianne when I was her age. I went to Gillotts School and did art and went on to study it at Henley College but then I went straight into the working world and never picked up a paintbrush again. I saw so much of myself in her and I thought it would be quite nice to give back to the people who are working hard at the moment.”

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