TOMS RIVER, N.J., May 6 /PRNewswire/ — Twelve special therapy dogs have a permanent home at the Community Medical Center, thanks to artist Laura Barbosa. Barbosa’s “Bright and Beautiful” collection. Three life-sized acrylic paintings on canvas depicting a dozen therapy dogs currently working in Ocean County, N.J. community hospitals, nursing homes, psychiatric facilities and schools — has been purchased by the Community Medical Center and is now on permanent display there.
In creating the paintings, Barbosa hoped to raise awareness of the role therapy dogs play in health and healing for patients of all ages. She also wanted to support The Bright and Beautiful Therapy Dogs, Inc. (http://www.golden-dogs.org/). With the sale of the paintings, the artist was able to meet both objectives, with unexpected results for Community Medical Center patients. “I hope to help the patients heal through my artwork,” Barbosa explained. “The dogs in these paintings are well-known in our local facilities and visit the very patients who are now viewing the collection. They love the dogs dearly and count on them to boost their morale, help them heal and lower their blood pressure. ‘Bright and Beautiful’ will allow those patients to enjoy these wonderful dogs even in their absence.”
Barbosa believes the Community Medical Center’s support of therapy dogs in its hospice, oncology, pediatric and outpatient programs makes it a good match for “Bright and Beautiful.” She is pleased to see the paintings become part of the hospital’s permanent collection, in part because of their potential to dispel myths and stereotypes about certain dogs. The twelve therapy dogs featured in her paintings include some misunderstood and feared breeds, yet all twelve are valued members of the healthcare community in Toms River.
Barbosa’s connection with dogs is evident in her work. The self-taught artist’s realistic style captures each dog’s personality, resulting in lifelike, compelling portraits. But even with “Bright and Beautiful,” Barbosa couldn’t help adding a touch of whimsy: The dogs are set against boldly colored backgrounds and surrounded by cheerful flowers. “If we take the time to see what is right in front of us, we begin to notice our beloved dogs are more than just primitive canines and capable guards,” she explained. “Dogs have a remarkable capacity to love and empathize and, ultimately, to help patients of all ages, backgrounds and conditions to experience healing. That’s what I hope people take away from this collection.”
A native New Jerseyan, Laura Barbosa is a self-representing artist with 20 years’ experience painting animals and subjects of fantasy. She is best known for her animal portraits, surreal representations, new wave digital art and colorful abstracts. Barbosa’s paintings have been exhibited in group shows in galleries including the Splash Contemporary Gallery in Asbury Park, N.J. and The Stover Mill Gallery and Tinicum Arts Festivals in Erwinna, PA.