Behind the Scenes

Quick on the draw! That’s freelance artist Sally Booth who’s been working behind the scenes at Forth Valley Royal Hospital to capture images that the public wouldn’t normally see. She’s been sketching people at work, making pen and ink drawings of the ‘robots’ trundling along hidden corridors and has spent time in the patient records department, the labs and hospital waiting areas, recording the day to day life of a busy hospital.

 Sally, who’s previous work has been showcased in the Scottish Parliament, the Bluecoat in Liverpool and the Southbank Centre in London, and who will be exhibiting in Tate Modern next year, hopes to display her drawings on acetate sheets mounted on light boxes which were used to display X rays before digital imaging was introduced.

 “I have to work very fast to capture what is often just a fleeting moment, for example someone working swiftly in the labs with petrie dish samples or someone putting case notes in a trolley before heading off to the wards. These aren’t portraits; I usually sketch people from behind and complete this in a matter of minutes. You feel focussed and intent while you’re doing this as there’s a sense of urgency to the task.”

A sketch of a the hospital laundry - NHS Forth Valley residency 2013 by Sally Booth

A sketch of a the hospital laundry - NHS Forth Valley residency 2013 by Sally Booth

 Sally’s residency is a joint project between NHS Forth Valley and Artlink Central. It has included a live drawing event at Cornton Vale prison in Stirling, where the women were encouraged to draw what they could see of the grounds through specially designed transparent drawing panels. She has also worked in a mental health ward at Forth Valley Royal Hospital to encourage interaction between patients. Drawing classes have also taken place in the surrounding woodland with adults with learning disabilities. 

NHS Forth Valley Charitable Arts and Wellbeing Co-ordinator Babs McCool said: “We got permission from departments to sketch and I think people have quite enjoyed seeing their jobs represented. Those behind the scenes don’t get seen. The robots for example, the public don’t have access to them, and capturing them with pen and paper was very frenetic as you have to keep getting out of the way as they beep-beep along the tracks.. It’s all about the hospital being a community.”

 Come spring 2014 it’s hoped to stage an exhibition of Sally’s work in the atrium at Forth Valley Royal Hospital, where the light boxes will be stationed in alcoves. The celluloid plates will mean the drawings can be quickly exchanged or moved around.

 You can see more of Sally’s work on her website www.sallybooth.co.uk