"In April 2009 I asked my friends to write to me with a story recounting how an event had changed their life with a positive result. It was the midst of the recession and the news was full of doom and gloom. I saw how it affected me and those around me and I wanted to create a body of work that would inspire hope when all around only the contrary was proclaimed. I wanted proof that through sheer hope people could change their lives for the better.

I was not prepared for the effect that these accounts would have on me. Not only did I gain a deeper understanding and respect for my friends but I was presented with empirical evidence of the capacity we have as human beings to learn from and evolve in situations beyond our control thus creating a better future for ourselves based on this knowledge.

Each story was the inspiration for a painting (21 in total). The style I chose for each one reflects the mood of the piece. I compiled the stories and paintings and have published a book about hope: its name is Changing Lives."

Harriet Muller, April 2010