Children’s Hospital, Central Valley, California: Murals


Children’s Hospital Central Valley, California.Sierra View Hospital, Porterville, CA.

Mother and Child 

I was approached to paint murals in a new hospital wing for Children’s Hospital, Central Valley. The project entailed 150’ of nurses’ stations, eight hospital rooms, and an examination room. I called for help, and my son Charles Gilbert helped me for this month long project. My son was attending the Academy of Art in San Francisco, and left his studies for this project, I dropped out of the teaching credential program I was in. We dedicated our lives just for a month, and had the most enjoyable time with this project!


We decided upon a theme for each room, a location in Africa, India, Australia, China.

We then focused upon what scenes we wanted to portray.

Thinking of the children, and the suffering and healing they would experience here,

we chose family scenes of Mother and Child.







The faces of the animals had to show loving kindness.

The eyes were so important.

We worked from photos of animal families,

and just painted what we saw,

all animals, including the human kind

love their children.


Artist: Charles Gilbert

Artist: Charles Gilbert




Animal family groups reflect values that human children can understand.

Children delight in seeing animals at play.





The Examination Room

These Monkeys are awaiting the appearance of their new friend, the Meerkat!




Water Room, Hippopotamus and Crane.

Water Room, Hippopotamus and water birds.






Grandma Chimp

Grandmother Chimpanzee





Animals are dangerous in the wild, they had to appear kindly,

rather than hungary.



Bamboo Room and Panda


Bamboo Room and Panda


African Safari Room









Examination Room

Examination Room




Our animal species are disappearing a such a rapid rate.

Humanity is spreading out even into animal sanctuaries.

We need more land for factories, resorts, plantations,

and economic growth.

Many animals will not be able to adapt the the rapid change in climate,

even the primates,

Homo Sapins Sapins

mother and child - Bangkok, city of angels

mother and child – Bangkok, city of angels (Photo credit: Sailing “Footprints: Real to Reel” (Ronn ashore))


There is an excellent blog on WordPress if you are interested in

animal protection and rights.

Animal Post:


I am not showing what an elephant looks like with it’s tusks removed,


Tigers killed for the Japanese markets (aphrodisiacs)


Even I can’t bear to look,

but as the world we know disappears,

our grandchildren will ask us about this, too,

“Where have all the animals gone?”



Meerkat. Taken in Victoria, Australia in Febru...

Meerkat. Taken in Victoria, Australia in February 2009. Français : Un Suricate (Suricata suricatta). Photo prise dans l’état de Victoria, en Australie, en février 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)




36 thoughts on “Children’s Hospital, Central Valley, California: Murals

  1. HOw absolutely wonderful! You and your son have made a real difference for kids who really need something uplifting while in the hospital. The staff benefits too. So hopefully, do the creatures you’ve indelibly imprinted on the hearts and minds of everybody who enjoys the charm and delight of your paintings. You’ve made an impression in a sterile environment that allows us to look at nature and revel in her beauty. Congrats!

  2. Hello Elena,
    Thank you for being so kind. Children’s Hospital, Central Valley, has wonderful murals throughout all its hospitals. My son and I just really enjoyed ourselves painting these rooms for children.

  3. Ohmygoodness your work is stunning! And to know that what you’ve done lifts the spirits of so many children (and I am sure their families, too)…?! Wow. Just…WoW!!

  4. 🙂 Your talent and skills really are amazing. I know from being a carpenter what it means to build or create something that will last and be enjoyed by many and I can only imagine the satisfaction you have from knowing you’ve left such a beautiful mark on the world. If only more of the world could be painted like this…there’d be more smiles and less hatred, wouldn’t there?!

    • Dear PW Travel Blog,
      Murals can last for centuries, artists love to paint. I am teaching art right now to students aged 12 and 13. As most schools have cancelled art for math and science I feel fortunate that I am currently able to pass what I love down to future generations of artists.
      Thank you for your positive comments!

  5. Do you think will ever come a time when you will be able to listen to soothing music, within the walls, of an hospital? The silence, only interrupted by the loudspeaker calling someone somewhere, is so depressing! The murals you did are really off the institution wall, so to speak: the colors, the themes, the ideas are so advanced, Thank you for sharing your work, I’m sure the patients feel so much more at ease!

    • Hello George-B,
      Years ago I was hired by the nurses at another hospital to install a medicinal herb garden (my nursery, Emerald Gardens) for their patients. Plants are so healing, especially those that are created to do so. That hospital also bought several of my paintings for their lobby. One person can make changes to improve the institution, and the nurses there were proactive!

    • Richard,
      Thank you! Your calligraphy is also very beautiful. It is so nice that you are sharing your gifts by teaching. I think that I need to do some exploring on your web sites. I read that you are based in Bangkok, lucky you.

      • Hi Denise. Thanks so much for looking at all my stuff. I haven’t fully got my head around blogging yet really,,, I started a while ago and then left it all but I’m trying to get a grip on it now as Im enjoying writing more. Maybe I’ve taken on too much with 4 blogs lol.
        I’ve resisted teaching for many years thinking I didn’t have the skills for that but actually I find I’m quite enjoying it now. It is good for me socially as I do tend to be a bit of a hermit.
        Yes Bangkok… Crazy place, I love it. Have you been?

    • Hi Shelly,
      Healing is something that flows through me wherever I am. I don’t think about it. If this comes through into my writings and art, I am so pleased that that they become the vehicle of healing. Your comment is a healing work of ink!
      Many thanks to you,

    • Dear Katie and friends,
      As a artist, this job was a creative project that keeps on giving. What is wonderful about murals is that they are viewed by the public, rather than hidden away on someone’s walls. Most of my paintings have been bought by hospitals also. Thank you for your kind comments.

    • Thank you Ian. I wish projects like this were our day jobs, as they once were.
      Although, I am teaching art to 11, 12 and 13 year olds every day. We all worked on a community mural last fall, and it was great fun!

  6. Denise, first of all what a remarkable gift you have afforded this hospital children’s wing. It tears my heart out to visit the children’s wing of hospitals. What you have done here, and with you son at your side through it all, is truly amazing. The comfort these beautiful visions must bring to a sick child. How incredibly touched you must have been to accept this wonderful opportunity. How wonderfully selfless of you both.

    On the abuses to our natural wildlife it just burns to my very core seeing anything of mistreatment to animals. It is a part of humanity that truly sickens me through and through.

    Thank you for sharing what you have here. As a writer I frequent subjects of nature and our environment, something very close to my own heart. I will share your post on my own here. The importance of what you have posted here cannot be understated.

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