Our Charity

Art in Healthcare is the leading arts provider for health organisations in Scotland. We lend high quality, original artwork to hospitals and other healthcare settings and provide fun-filled art workshops and talks for patients, care home residents and sheltered housing communities.
Find out more about our work at Art in Healthcare.
Donate with JustGiving

Artworks in Collection


2505



Total Pageviews

389

Familiar Faces

by

Michael Forbes

FamiliarFaces
Familiar Faces by Michael Forbes
Oil on board
1995
62.5 x 72.5 cm

Reg. Number: P597

Print Label Print Label

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Michael Forbes produced this oil on board piece in 1995. This artist is a surrealist painter and the image presented in this piece is unusually grounded in reality, with the twist that the scene itself never happened and is a product of the artist's imagination. According to the artist himself, the child in the painting is his own and the cat is his pet, which passed away a short time before the baby was born. In the artist's own words, "the idea behind this picture is that the cat is watching over my son like a magical guardian or a 'familiar'", hence the title 'Familiar Faces'.

The cat in this painting does indeed appear to be on guard, watching the viewer warily, sitting yet alert, while the child maintains a blank look of infant innocence. Otherwise, this piece demonstrates the hallmarks of the artist's style, such as bright colours, strange imagery and a dreamlike quality. The artist has forgone outlines in favour of colour distinction to ensure elements remain clear, giving the piece a clean, print-like quality.

The scene is a garden, with a background made up of a lined lawn, cultivated trees and trimmed hedges under a blue sky with a hint of cloud moving in. The foreground suggests wild and uncultivated undergrowth, with colourful wonders such as the butterfly juxtaposed with dangers lurking in a cloud of bees.

The tendril-like leaves encroaching from the left side of the painting remain ambiguous. The blues and greens of the backgrounds complement each other, yet contrast with the oranges of the cat and child, so that they stand out despite being obscured by the leaves. The colours of the butterflies and bees, on the other hand, are muted and their presence is subdued and hidden. The artist's signature can be found at the bottom-left, along with speckles of white paint.


Michael Forbes was born in 1968 and now lives in Dingwall in the Northern Highlands. A successful artist by the age of 22, despite receiving no formal training, he has exhibited in solo and group shows throughout Britain and across the world. Over a hundred of his paintings are in private collections worldwide. His surrealist artwork has been described as full of "invention and pawky humour" and "windows opening on to an inner landscape".

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Since 1991 our charity has been assembling one of the largest and most prestigious Collections of original Scottish art in the country. These artworks are uniquely available for display in hospitals and other healthcare settings.


Art in Healthcare is truly committed to the important role that art plays in the healing environment but we need your help to properly maintain and build this unique Collection for the enjoyment and benefit of the hundreds of thousands of staff, patients and visitors who view it each year.


With your help we're able to:


Keep our Collection on display in hospitals and care homes
Support young artists at their degree shows
Buy artwork from professional artists
Provide fun-filled art workshops for patients and care home residents
Develop our training programmes for volunteers


Adopt an artwork from our Collection for just £3 a month and you'll receive:


Your name (or a loved one's) written next to your chosen artwork online
A certificate of adoption with a picture of the artwork
Invites to Art in Healthcare's special events
First to view our latest Prestigious Print
Our colourful e-newsletter


"My patients really enjoy looking at our collection. Sometimes they even do an 'art tour' around the premises." ~ Barron Dental Practice


You can adopt an artwork in the gallery, if it hasn't already been adopted, by clicking the 'Adopt Me' button below the picture of the artwork.


Our Charity

Art in Healthcare is the leading arts provider for health organisations in Scotland. We lend high quality, original artwork to hospitals and other healthcare settings and provide fun-filled art workshops and talks for patients, care home residents and sheltered housing communities.
Find out more about our work at Art in Healthcare.
Adopt an artwork
Donate with JustGiving

Total Pageviews

389


Supported by Edinburgh Art Fair