Friday, May 24, 2013

Day surgery sketching at Moorfields Eye Hospital

Yesterday I had my second day surgery to remove my cataract and implant a new lens (see
Phacoemulsification of cataract with intraocular lens implantation #2 - which means super new sketching eyes!  Plus I'll be able to get back to proper artwork having had severe difficulties seeing proper colour, tonal values and detail for the last 18 months or so.

I was the last operation of the day so had some hours to while away - and there's nothing like a spot of sketching for passing the time and keeping you calm!

I arrived at 11.30 and after initial check-ups for blood pressure and temperature and the insertion of my dilating drops I got stuck into my first sketch.  The theatre gown in the foreground was for me later in the day.

The patient in the bed opposite - with the ubiquitous post surgery eye dressing
8" x 10" pen and ink and coloured pencils
copyright Katherine Tyrrell
When you come back from theatre, those who have had a general anaesthetic get to rest up in bed.  I was more than ready for my chicken sandwich and big pot of tea when I got back to my bed at 5.30pm having had nothing since 7am!

While I was waiting earlier in the afternoon, I drew the nurses station but didn't try drawing the nurses as they were always busy and came and went too quickly.

Nurses' station in Sedgwick Ward, Moorfields Eye Hospital
8" x 10" pen and ink and coloured pencils
copyright Katherine Tyrrell
I felt great after the operation and after post surgery examination and tests was back at the bus stop for the journey home two hours after I left the operating theatre!

Thanks to everybody who helped me get my eyesight back!

Postscript:  The sketches were much admired by staff - as always seems to happen when I sketch while in hospital.  However one of the interesting aspects of this particular operation is I might have earned myself a commission from one of the doctors.  I now have an email to follow up on!

I've added in a module to the side column to say how you can commission a sketch from me.


  1. AnonymousMay 24, 2013

    Beautiful sketches, Katherine! Your style is so lively. I'm impressed that you were able to create such wonderful work immediately after your surgery. I hope you feel better soon!

  2. No - these were both done before surgery. I arrived at 11.30am but didn't go down to theatre until 4.15pm so had quite a lot of time to kill......

  3. I love these, Katherine - and I love that you sketch even when you are supposed to be resting in hospital! I hope you get that commission.

  4. Yippee, new sketching eyes, and sketches before.

  5. Love the sketches (and the plucky attitude to take the bus home post-op)! I'm sure you're on your way to a strong recovery.

  6. The bus home was by far the most practical option. "He who who must not be bored while I sketch" is not fond of driving in London traffic - and then there's the "where to park" to think about. Hospitals on the edge of the City of London don't come with car parks as (a) the land is far too valuable and (b) the big thing in London is to discourage the use of the car.

    Using the tube would have involved too much walking while I had an eye patch on - plus also involved steps which I wouldn't be able to manage (no sense of space with one eye)

    Taxi was OK in principle - but where to get one during what was still the rush "four hours"!

    While the bus stop was right outside the hospital and dropped me off within a couple of hundred yards of my front door! No brainer.

  7. All the best for a speedy recovery, and I hope the doctor gives you a commission. I've just spent over an hour looking at your inspiring drawings, and there are still more to see. I discovered your blog sometime in 2011, so it's time for a BIG thank you for your generosity with images and information, reviews, etc. All very helpful.

  8. I worked as an eye surgeon in Moorfields in the past; your lovely and vivid sketches make me recall this amazing hospital and the people that work there so hard.
    Fantastic job!

  9. Really appreciate and enjoy these sketches - so personal and so real. Do the people you draw KNOW you are sketching them. I try to pretend I'm looking the other way when I sense their eyes on me! Sounds like you are doing well with recovery and staying very positive. Love the blog!

  10. No they don't - however I always try to draw people as "everyman" rather than achieving a likeness of the individual. I'm only trying to get the basic shapes correct so it looks a person rather than a specific person.

    In other words they may recognise themselves but nobody else would.

  11. Love these vivid cool sketches! glad to know your operation went well and pretty neat that your were back to sketching so soon after the operation! I like your expression 'everyman'- did not know that what i was doing as that was my cop out mechanism to try and sketch people on the move :) Look forward to seeing more Bali sketches too.

  12. Hi, have just come across your pictures & blogs whilst browsing Twitter.You have bought back memories of my stays on Sedgwick ward at Moorfields to date have spent 3 visits there.Fantastic doctors & nurses there and so pleased you were able to sketch so soon after the operation. Hope recovery is going well.

    1. Thanks Natalie

      One eye is absolutely fine and there's a problem with the other one - but I'm seeing the medics tomorrow so hopefully we can get it sorted


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