Ryan Groot was commissioned by the Calgary Health Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving health and healthcare for everyone, to create this painting based on his experience in the NICU. The Foundation sought to develop a series of art pieces to display in their headquarters, hoping to inspire their team and visitors with health, well-being, and humanity themes.
On an unexpected early morning, Ryan and his pregnant wife Kristine Groot faced a life-threatening emergency when Kristine began hemorrhaging blood two months before her due date. Rushing to the hospital, their daughter Kennedy was born without a heartbeat due to a placental abruption, and Kristine had flatlined temporarily. Both mother and daughter were in critical states, with Kennedy being moved to a Level 3 NICU and Kristine to the ICU.
“I got to see our daughter, Kennedy, just before they were getting her ready for the ambulance ride and I remember just seeing this little thing. I held her hand for a little bit and then they took her away.” Ryan Recalls
After a dire evening where their daughter, Kennedy, was intubated and put on a feeding tube, Ryan and Kristine were elated the next day when she miraculously began breathing independently and showed positive signs of recovery. Throughout the ordeal, the dedication and compassion of the medical staff, especially the nurses, deeply touched the Groot family.
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After experiencing a whirlwind of emotions from despair to absolute joy in just 12 hours, Ryan and Kristine were ecstatic about the favourable outlook for Kennedy. And in these particular paintings, Ryan wanted to highlight the exceptional care and support provided by the nurses during this tumultuous time.
Ryan gifted custom-made white-metal prints of these paintings to the members of the Newborns Need cabinet. These poignant pieces depict the tender moment when their daughter had her first bath in the NICU, fitting snugly inside a salad bowl, as well as the tender touch of Ryan on his brand-new daughter’s head. This artwork holds immense sentimental value to Ryan, and Newborns Need was deeply grateful for his heartfelt donation and dedication to their initiative.
Upon reflection, Groot expressed gratitude for the opportunity to contribute to the inspiring work of the Calgary Health Foundation. The final pieces are a testimony to Ryan’s appreciation for all the support he and his family received from the dedicated doctors and nurses during this time.
He gained a deeper understanding of health-related issues and the power of art to communicate to those who have gone through health concerns with their families, hoping to bring encouragement and hope. He looks forward to bringing these insights into future commissions.
Ryan Groot is a published, self-taught artist known for his innovative approach to creating artwork focusing on abstract impressionism and textural techniques. Being a prairie boy now residing in Calgary, AB, Canada, Ryan is a full-time artist inspired by surfing, snowboarding, & Rock ’n roll!
He views art and life as sharing a fundamental theme – both thrive amidst challenges, often against formidable odds. Ryan’s story resonates deeply with this concept, paralleling many inspirational tales from the Calgary Health Foundation.
Ryan has also donated and volunteered or is commissioned by organizations that he has a special connection with, such as: