By: Teresa Coulter, Aimee Astick, Adrienne Renton
“Olivia” by Teresa Coulter
My current project, “Olivia” is an oil painting on canvas representing 5 female figures. Olivia is the subject who I collaborated with for this painting. It is a reminder of the many roles we step in to. From pulling our hair up to jump into action, to getting down on the ground to hold c-spine. Paying honour, and respect, to our comrade and their family at all times, handing a cap or flag to a loved one at a funeral, to raising a Saber at a celebration, As I observed Olivia hold positions in the uniform, they were well-defined development of embodied experiences. Fearlessness while she wore the blue threads. The shift into the delicate dress I observed was where the true beauty emerged. Vulnerability, softness, unease. Standing in her own feminine strength was not as poised. The painting opened up more questions than revealing answers for me. All while expanding my gratitude for the sacrifices made by those Women in Paramedicine before me, forging a way to prove our place in the blue threads of emergency services. It is a great honour to stand in yet another role, as a mentor to invite more women into paramedicine, to encourage, support and celebrate our achievements. We have immense power when we find the courage to collaborate.
“Rose, Star of Life” by Aimee Astick
One of my earliest memories was the feeling of excitement of watching an ambulance drive by with the lights and sirens on. I have always known this was the profession I wanted to be in. Growing up I always found happiness in doing things for others, which pushed me even more in the direction of Emergency Services. Along with my passion for EMS, I also have a passion for art. I began drawing 6 years ago as a way to cope with mental illness. Drawing helps me relax and de-stress. In this drawing, the rose symbolizes being broken or unhealthy then becoming healed through the words or actions from the paramedic community and the change we can make. Creating the rose to be healthy and strong with the star of life.
“Palms on Glass” by Adrienne Renton
The creative process can feel counter intuitive for someone used to protocol or structure. At least for me, it is a process of letting go, allowing space for things to just happen. Usually, I start with a concept or feeling. In the case of this piece, I began with the idea of yelling underwater. If you’ve ever tried this, you’d know that it takes a lot of energy to make much sound, it’s easy to choke, and it’s usually easiest to just hold your breath. I wanted to capture the feeling of being suspended and isolated. Being underwater is not the human realm and represents discomfort we can experience when isolated and ‘out of our element.’
The woman in the picture appeared as I drew. After I blocked out the rough outline of her body, her hair took shape, then her face. She intrigues me; she seems calm despite her environment, including the ominous darkness beneath her. I don’t know if she’s ascending to the surface, trying to speak, or breathing her last breath. What the heck is she up to? It’s up to you to figure that out. The colourful light at the surface brings hope and optimism. Also, exposed palms are a gesture of connection, which takes vulnerability. When we have enough courage to conquer fear and appeal to the humanity in each other, then our voices will truly be heard.