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Toronto painter works at Sick Kids by day, paints away the emotional stress by night

Putting some colour on the walls of a new place means a trip to Home Depot for most of us. But not Gloria Green. She enrolled in painting classes at the Avenue Road Art School.

“I realized what a relief it was from the day to day grind at work,” she says. “I’ve been hooked ever since.”

Nine years later, Green has more than a little colour on the walls of her Yorkville studio-loft. Paintings cover almost every surface, including Passionate Wreckage, a canvas that was too big to be part of her solo exhibition, Street Noyz, on now at Rue Pigalle.

Green’s “grind” is far from the mundane 9 to 5 office life many of us experience. She spends her days working as a clinical dietitian in the pediatric oncology unit at SickKids.

“It can be heartbreaking,” she says. “But it can also be rewarding.”

A classically trained pianist, she previously used music or yoga as a conduit for her emotional stress.

“But I wanted something more physical and tangible.”

Painting scratched that itch and allowed Green to combine her two artistic pursuits: she can’t paint unless she’s listening to music in the background.

Creating on canvas is a relief from Green’s workday. But, consciously or subconsciously, elements from her day job are seeping into her hobby.

The pieces that make up Street Noyz were inspired by her walk to and from the hospital. And a new collection featuring bright, colourful sphere clusters had its genesis in a series of leukemia lymphoma cell slides.

Green has found success in the art world, seeing her work displayed in a variety of galleries and restaurants around town.

And her abstract paintings now sell for anywhere between $1,200 and $5,000, but she’s still a ways away from quitting her day job.

“That starving artist cliché is still relevant,” she says.

Street Noyz runs to Aug. 17 at Rue Pigalle, 927 Queen St. W.

More on Green

Street Noyz, Green’s current exhibition, was inspired by “the grit and the beauty of the street,” she experiences every day as she walks between her Yorkville studio-loft and SickKids.

Green prefers to paint on her balcony, weather permitting, which overlooks a graffiti-covered alley, for which she credits the “bright splashes and strokes” which are the series’ hallmarks.

Two of Green’s paintings will soon be on display at SickKids. Waves of Hope  is currently on display in the oncology unit and Limitless was recently donated to the Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning.

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