All Eyes on “Eyelene”
Decorated with dozens of colorful eyeballs and flowers, The Eye Institute’s newest addition to its pediatric department is a three-foot bear. “Eyelene” was brought to life through the creativity of local Chestnut Hill artist, Rebecca Thornburgh. Rebecca also painted “Seemore” – the nine-foot polar bear bench standing front and center in TEI’s pediatric waiting room – as well as a 179-square-foot mural on the waiting room walls of TEI’s pediatric service.
The essence of “Eyelene’s” personality started with a simple sketch. But, Rebecca quickly realized the bear’s curved surfaces would make painting her difficult. After concentrating on the precise color of her body – café au lait - she moved onto her fingers, toes, face and finally her outfit. She painted “Eyelene’s” cheeks as any female would apply blush – rubbing off a little before re-applying. “I thought a lot about what I wanted to do to make her look girlish,” the Bryn Mawr College alumna said. “I worked a long time on her green eyes and went back a couple of times to redo her eyelashes because I didn’t want to overdo it.”
Her outfit was the next step. Rebecca penciled an outline before painting the bright colors and “fabulous” eyeballs and flowers. Stylistically, she described the difference between “Seemore” and “Eyelene.” “The interesting thing is when I painted ‘Seemore’, I treated the animal as a surface to paint on instead of painting the animal,” she said. “But ‘Eyelene’ is different because she’s like a little person with an outfit on.”
Standing at basically the same height as many of the kids being examined in TEI’s pediatric department, “Eyelene” will be friendly and accessible. “I think she’s really cute and has a great personality,” Rebecca said.
To view Rebecca’s palette of work, visit www.rebeccathornburgh.com.