From the very first moment Lisa Boulton described the concept for the Toby Bear book, I got goosebumps. The energy surrounding this project is palpable, moving and extremely positive.
As other people are touched by the story, that energy grows and expands.
One of our first production steps was a photo shoot at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital. They graciously provided the use of a hospital room.
The main character in the story, ‘Ani’ had been written many months before synchronicity led us to our model for the artwork – Anika.
Lenka Vodika – a local artist, teacher and author– learned about our project and suggested that we use her daughter, Anika. Anika fit all of our criteria and she had a natural empathy for loved ones spending time in the hospital since her mother had recently spent time there…
Anika was a superb model for our photo shoot. She did a terrific job listening to instructions and demonstrating the different emotions we were looking to portray. What she could not do, however, was physically look sick. I had to figure out ways to create the those effects in Photoshop and my painting program – Corel Painter. It was very strange to create art pieces in this way. I felt sick to my stomach. I worried how Anika and her family would feel when they saw them.
Despite the uncomfortable feelings, there is still no question in my mind that this project is powerful, meaningful and so very important.
More of Lisa Redfern’s writing can be found at
Expressions through Art & Words