Who knew that a tiny painting could have such a magical effect on a child? Central to ‘Turn tears into smiles’ was the beautiful art of a very special artist.

Lorraine Loots

A miniaturist painter from South Africa with a unique gift
for turning stories into tiny, sweet pictures.

We were lucky enough to have hugely talented miniature painter Lorraine as our ‘artist in residence’ for the campaign. She took the stories of our four children and turned them into exquisite little pictures as the children watched…

“How did you feel when you heard about the project?”

Excited! It’s about children, and it’s about art. So it combined two of my favourite things. I loved the idea of painting with tears – it really is turning something bad into something good! And it only takes one tear to make one of my little paintings.

“Did you run into any challenges on the day itself?”

One of the challenges was that tears are salty and water, which I usually work with, is not. But just as the paper changes or the paintbrush changes, you adapt your technique. To allow for that change, and make it work for you.

Lorraine Loots

Lorraine was born in South Africa in 1984 and specialises in miniature paintings. Most of her pictures are no bigger than 2.5 cm2 and she describes her work as “paintings for ants”. This was the title of a 2015 exhibition in NYC featuring over 700 of her pieces and represented two years work. Lorraine’s book, “365 Postcards for Ants” is inspired by her hometown Cape Town. Her work has become popular all around the world thanks to her beautiful Instagram.

“Why do you think that your paintings were so amazing at making the children feel better?”

Creativity really can help you deal with pain. Of course it was a distraction for the children, but there’s also something about focusing on something beautiful. Watching something being created...it takes your mind away from thinking about yourself. It was the process itself that healed the children.

“What has Turn Tears into Smiles taught you?”

It has been such an incredible experience! I have learnt so much. About children. About how to get a conversation started when they’re feeling sad. I’ve learnt about how to connect to them, and that’s really important to me.