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Art for Healing Environments
by Ellen Joseph
Editor's Note: Using evidence-based design, artist Ellen Joseph combines research and art to produce paintings and murals that reduce the negative emotional and physiological effects of stress.
Expansive, peaceful views of nature, with calm waters and verdant trees and colorful flowers, are some of the most psychologically beneficial images for patients who are recovering from surgery, according to the findings of Roger S. Ulrich, PhD, Director of The Center for Health Design. Dr. Ulrich's research proved that such positive scenes of nature can substantially improve patient outcomes by reducing blood pressure, stress and anxiety, intake of pain medication and length of hospital stays. An international revolution in hospital design was born from these and other studies on the hospital environment. "Evidence-based Design" seeks to improve the quality of patient and staff experiences by considering a broad range of factors, including architecture, garden design and artwork that bring views of nature indoors.
Ellen Joseph learned to draw at an early age from her father, illustrator and fine artist, James Menzel-Joseph. Her family tree also includes Henri Fantin-Latour, colleague of the French Impressionists, and Adolph Menzel, one of Germany's most acclaimed painters of the 19th century. After completing formal training at the American Academy of Art in Chicago, where her father was a professor, she moved to Findhorn, a community in northern Scotland, where she worked as a resident artist. During her five-year stay in Scotland, she had exhibits on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh and at the Royal Exchange in London. Ellen also spent several years in Hawaii and in the countryside near Paris, exhibiting her work and painting outside in the plein air practice of the Impressionists.
From 1997 to 2010, Ellen produced dramatic murals and paintings for commercial and residential clients in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond, through her mural business, "Rooms with a View." Ellen is currently focused on creating peaceful paintings of nature for healing environments. She has been collaborating with hospitals and healing venues to provide artwork that adds color and life to an otherwise harsh environment. Ellen's paintings follow evidence-based guidelines that define specific nature images found to substantially improved patient outcomes such as blood pressure, anxiety, intake of pain medication and length of hospital stay.
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About the Author
Elements, animals, care-free people, and calming landscapes fill the stress-reducing paintings of Northern Californian artist, Ellen Joseph. Her images are based on research that outlines design components that are most optimal for improving well-being, enabling healing, reducing stress, and promoting safety. She has worked with well-known medical provider, Kaiser Permanente, as well as in classrooms and residences.
For more information please visit www.ArtForHealingEnvironments.com.