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Injured Victoria veteran’s artwork sent to King Charles as a birthday gift

The local artist’s painted prints sent to the Royal family showcase Saanich’s greenery

It takes a delicate touch on the canvas to have artwork delivered to the Royal family, and veteran Dana Batho’s hands were selected for the very thing.

The Victoria artist was shocked to find out through the royal non-profit, the Prince’s Trust Canada, that her collection of plant print paintings were sent to King Charles. The prints were in a gift basket with other items made from veteran-owned small businesses across the country.

“I was super honored to have my work included in the gift box, especially as the only artist included,” said Batho.

After Batho was released from the military, she attended the weeklong Prince’s Operation Entrepreneur boot camp.

“It was basically an MBA in a week, they flew a bunch of us veterans out to Regina to do a week-long training with business leaders and university staff at the University of Regina,” said the veteran. “Fast forward to now, I am one of the businesses listed in the Prince’s Trust “Buy Veteran” listings on their site.”

An art print Batho had recently put on the site was ordered by the Prince’s Trust.

“I just thought it was for their offices, or something one of their staff had stumbled across in the listings. I didn’t think much of it.”

Six weeks later, Batho was tagged in an Instagram post that revealed her print was sent to King Charles for his birthday.

The selected print was one from a series Batho did with 100 small paintings of local flora. The greenery that inspired the artist was from a book of Saanich ethnobotany she bought at the Royal BC Museum. Batho wanted to learn more about plants around her and their Indigenous use.

The paintings also marked Batho’s first venture back into painting since her military service. Due to the injury she acquired in the forces, she’s created art predominantly digitally.

“I really missed painting though, so I did the 100-Day Project starting last February,” she said.

In 2011, Batho was injured while doing a two-hour jog with 60 pounds sitting on her neck and crunching down her chin onto her chest. Since the jog, she’s had upper body limitations that she describes feeling like “permanent whiplash.”

Her injury has made it difficult for her to get back into the art she loves doing.

“I’m sort of having to work all the time reclined and with the heat on my neck, which made painting hard because you’re either upright or you’re looking down, and looking down at something is very painful for me.”

However, having art sent to King Charles and completing the 100-Day Project has given her a new-found confidence.

”The journey of getting back into painting and something I was kind of just trying to see if I could even do it, and then I did it. Not knowing how it was going to end up and then to have it sent to King Charles,” said Batho. “It’s just like, wow it’s amazing.”

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About the Author: Ella Matte

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