GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A lifelong artist from Bay City is honoring the student nurses who cared for her while she was being treated for COVID-19.

“With the whole COVID thing, like a lot of older people, I got all my shots, the booster and I still got it. I got really sick,” Rosemary Kavanagh said.

She went to a Saginaw hospital for an infusion. She thought it was an amazing experience to be a part of and took note of all the PPE hospital staff were wearing.

“I started looking at the folds and the way the light hit their outfits and I decided I was going to do a painting,” Kavanagh said.

When she was done with her infusion, she asked the nursing students to pose for her.

“The actual photograph of them posing was not as interesting — to me, anyway — as when they are moving around, adjusting their clothes and stuff like that,” she said.

That photo eventually turned into the painting “Canaries in the Abyss,” which can be seen at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport through the end of the ArtPrize competition on Oct. 2.

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Kavanagh said she has been an artist for most of her life.

“I always knew that I was an artist. There was never a question about it,” she said. “I was very lucky that my parents noticed that and encouraged me.”

She has shown her artwork in shows around the globe and says that she keeps coming back to ArtPrize in Grand Rapids.

“I really truly believe it brings out the best work of all the artists that are exhibiting there. I even compare it to New York City where I’ve shown a lot,” she said.