An artist has used MEDITE® TRICOYA® EXTREME (MTX), a weather resistant MDF, to ensure her six original paintings could continue to be enjoyed for up to 50 years at Raigmore Children’s Hospital Garden in Inverness.

Artist Fiona Jack was commissioned for the project by Papillon Designs and Landscaping Ltd, an Aberdeen based company, who won the garden construction contract.

“I had worked with Papillon previously and was delighted to be asked to paint for the Hospital’s garden,” said Fiona. “We had been experimenting with different materials to be able to produce paintings for outside; slate, stone and other similar materials were all considered, but they’re obviously extremely heavy, can be expensive, and their surfaces are not always smooth.”

So, how did MTX come to be chosen? Angelique, Director at Papillon Designs and Landscaping explained: “We were approached by the Archie Foundation, a charity that raises money to support Children’s Hospitals, for the garden project at Raigmore Children’s Hospital, after having previously worked with the Archie’s Director of Projects Ewen Buchan.

“I immediately thought MTX would be the perfect panel for the paintings that we planned as part of the garden design, after having been impressed by it at Futurescape 2018. As MTX is guaranteed for up to 50 years outdoors, above ground, it is truly a ground-breaking material for any landscape designer or artist to use.

“I called the manufacturer, MEDITE SMARTPLY, and arranged for one of their experts to come and talk to us about it at Papillon. After that we installed by Papillon, in the shapes of a highland cow, mirroring the painted highland cow behind it, and the Loch Ness Monster.

“The highland cow is instantly recognisable and deliberately ‘caricatured’ to be warm, fuzzy and comforting,” said Fiona, “I named him Archie, after the Archie Foundation.

“The polar bear paintings, like Nessie, bring an element of fantastical imagination to the garden, while the Scottish landscape and the Castle Urquhart, a site of historical interest, have both inspired stories through ages and represent local heritage.”

While MDF is one of Fiona’s preferred panels for painting onto, MTX “made all the difference” to this project. She explains: “The paintings would never survive outside if painted on regular MDF. MTX is fantastic for this project as it has guaranteed generations of children the enjoyment of the paintings, as it won’t rot or weather for up to 50 years.”

“After cutting the panels to size, I was delighted to see that they required no sanding; they cut very smoothly and consistently. Their smooth flat surface was a joy to paint on! I prepared the panels with gesso just as normal. They were painted in outdoor grade acrylic paint and finished with clear varnish.”

Sustainably manufactured with zero added formaldehyde and made weather resistant using an organic acetylation process, MTX is especially well positioned for the hospital environment, where formaldehyde emissions must be kept to an absolute minimum.

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