Lisa’s NHS Heroes: Renèe

Renèe: Lisa’s NHS Heroes

Renèe is a nurse at Market Harborough Medical Centre and the fifteenth portrait in Lisa’s #portraitsfornhsheroes.

In general practice, nurses are said to provide 80% of direct patient care; The majority’s hospital experience begins and ends with a nurse. Building rapport with their recurring patients, nurses provide a highly attentive level of care. Curtailing this pandemic meant hospital staff were exposed to the very risks that the further public were desperate to avoid.

In 2020, several of Renèe’s regular patients passed away from COVID-19. Having also lost her mother in November 2019, Renèe struggled during this difficult and emotionally fraught period of her career.

She said:

“I will always remember this difficult time when we all fought this dreadful virus but I’d like the portrait for my young son, as I’m not sure he will”.

Renèe’s seemingly post-apocalyptic face covering demonstrates the surreal reality we experienced. This suspenseful portrait is highlighted by a strong and vibrant Pyrrole Scarlet foundation, as this nurse is fully armoured. Her robust exterior protects her from the increasing frailty of human existence.

There is an intriguing layering of textures and experimentation with light, including the grey line-work on this face shield. Leading downward, it emulates tears from Renèe’s eyes. The only visible aspect of her humanity, these accentuated eyes are ones of comfort and connection with her patients.

Lisa said, “Thank you for all you do for the NHS Renee! You are an NHS Hero!”

To view more of Lisa’s portraits of NHS Heroes and read their stories, visit her website

Lisa’s NHS Heroes: Georgia

Georgia: Lisa’s NHS Heroes

Twenty-five year old Georgia was Lisa’s fourteenth #portraitsfornhsheroes.

After completing a school work placement at her brother’s Special Educational Needs (SEN) School, Georgia knew she wanted to work in the health and social care sector.

Achieving a triple distinction in her BTEC, Georgia went on to do a degree in adult nursing. After qualifying, she worked in Maxillofacial theatres, specifically in plastics, plastic trauma, ENT, general & emergency, gaining an intense education over the course of two years.

During the Coronavirus Pandemic, Georgia was transferred to the Intensive Care escalation ward at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth, which she describes as “a completely different experience”.

Painting Georgia against a ‘burnt sienna’ foundation exaggerates her warm complexion under the cooler tones of her medical uniform. The sharp outline highlights the subject against a pale background, adding a third dimension.

Often in this art series, there is a focus on the eyes of the subject due to various layers of protective clothing. This very recognisable disposable mask has meant the loss of personability; during this very intimate level of care, patients would imaginably be fearful of this inability to connect or identify staff members. However, the long-standing idiom, “the eyes are the window to the soul”, feels often true to life. Georgia’s youth, femininity and knowledge can be drawn from her eyes, as well as her cat-eye glasses. Lisa recalls the enjoyable challenge of recreating the colourful reflections on the lenses.

The artist also said:

“We are so grateful to you Georgia for all you do in the NHS. Where would we be without brave & dedicated souls like you? Thank you! I hope you like your gift, I enjoyed painting it for you.”

To view more of Lisa’s portraits of NHS Heroes and read their stories, visit her website

Lisa’s NHS Heroes: Anna

Anna: Lisa’s NHS Heroes

Anna’s portrait is the thirteenth NHS worker for #portraitfornhsheroes.

She trained at Liverpool Medical School and has been a doctor for six years.

During the pandemic, she worked on the pediatric ward in two different hospitals in the South Wales Valleys. Anna said:

“I have learnt the importance of good teamwork – doctors, nurses, healthcare assistance, cleaners, caterers and porters and I’ve absolutely loved the camaraderie between us all. Without my amazing colleagues, we couldn’t have achieved what we have for all the children that have been admitted during this scary time.”

Anna: Portrait versus Photograph

Lisa said:

“Anna is a smiley person. In all the photos she sent me, she has a big smile and told me it’s been difficult knowing that her reassuring expression can’t be seen behind the masks & visors she’s had to wear so she stuck smiley stickers on them!”

The colour palette and textured brushwork emulate the lovely, kind, soft and reassuring qualities of this person. Her stethoscope cascading down implies her level of preparedness and her devotion to caring for others. With the outline of her shoulders blurring into the background, it contrasts with the sharp details of Anna’s facial features, drawing the eye of the viewer.

To view more of Lisa’s portraits of NHS Heroes and read their stories, visit her website. 

Lisa’s NHS Heroes: Dr. Angelo

Dr. Angelo: Lisa’s NHS Heroes

It is intriguing that Dr. Angelo always wanted to be a doctor, a profession which digresses from his upbringing in a family of lawyers.

This is Lisa’s twelveth #NHShero.

Working in obstetrics and gynecology at Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, he initially trained and worked as a GP in Nigeria in 2011 and continued his postgraduate training before relocating with family to the UK in 2018.

Dr. Angelo was redeployed to a designated Coronavirus Emergency Department to help his colleagues out, but since the height of the pandemic he is back in the maternity ward and hoping to become a consultant in a few years.

Using the same colour palette for Dr. Angelo as Bethany, which consisted of two different reds, yellow, blue & brown, Lisa also used a more transparent white so that the glow of the yellow background would slowly seep through. We can see this in his illuminated skin and deepened shadows along his hairline and neck. Dr. Angelo’s arms appear outstretched, to embrace the viewer.

From the explicable appreciation and celebration of hospital staff across the country, Dr. Angelo says: “[…] in recents times I have felt really happy knowing that we really matter”.

Dr Angelo: Initial Stages

Addressing the subject, Lisa said:

“Thank you so much from all of us! I know I said your painting wouldn’t end up yellow but I just love it as it is glowing with courage and optimism, so I hope you do too!”

Dr. Angelo Pictured with Portrait

To view more of Lisa’s portraits of NHS Heroes and read their stories, visit her website. 

Lisa’s NHS Heroes: Bethany

Bethany: Lisa’s NHS Heroes

Bethany is my Lisa’s eleventh painting for the online campaign, #portraitsfornhsheroes.

She is a trainee nursing associate at St. James Hospital, Leeds on Ward J28, which is the elderly admissions. Though, during the pandemic, she treated COVID-19 patients on every shift.

Bethany wanted the portrait to give to her mother who was so emotional and worried about her working during the pandemic. She said:

“My dream was to become a nurse after we lost my brother, that’s why I would love this portrait for my mum, I’m an only child now.”

However, her mother’s concern was not unfounded. Bethany had flu symptoms in early March 2020 and was off work for a week. She had the antibody blood test later that year and it came back positive, confirming that Bethany had contracted COVID-19 during that time.

Once recovered and wanting to reassure her mother, Bethany was sending daily selfies from the ICU ward. With this portrait taken from one of these photographs, it serves as a reminder of both their strength to get through difficult times.

Painted with one arm seemingly extended, her facial expression is one typical of the modern phenomenon of a ‘selfie’; Angled upward, her eyes are wide and mouth pouted. However, her tousled hair and work clothing suggest a far from picturesque moment. Instead, by placing Bethany against a warm and tropical blue backdrop, Lisa commented:

“Bethany is coming into focus in my painting, her eyes are like deep pools of turquoise blue water with so much emotion for such a young age, she has seen so much and still manages to keep her selfie pout on.”

Lisa curates a fascinating colour palette for Bethany’s natural complexion, including cad red, alizarin, lemon, ultramarine, burnt umber, titanium white whilst using the turquoise foundation to darken in places. From a pale and filtered photo, Lisa wanted to animate Bethany for the recipient:

“I need to warm [Bethany’s] face up now so she’s not so pale and vulnerable, so her mother can hang this painting on her wall and know all is good”.

To view more of Lisa’s portraits of NHS Heroes and read their stories, visit her website. 

Lisa’s NHS Heroes: Fuzzy

Fuzzy: Lisa’s NHS Heroes

Lisa’s tenth NHS portrait is of Fazila, who is better known to her friends as ‘Fuzzy’. She works for the NHS in Leicester City on the rapid response home first team as a Generic Technical Therapy Instructor. This portrait is unique as Lisa has a deeply personal connection to the subject, having known her since motherhood:

“[Fuzzy] is a wonderful, warm, wise, kind and funny friend, I love her to bits! When I had my last solo exhibition, she was there for me in my hanging team. We would regularly go to Norfolk together as a group of seven friends & walk on the beach [pre-pandemic], so I painted her against a sunny sandy background to remind her that those days will come again.”

This portrait appears as a caricature of nurses and doctors often seen on television by pulling on a comically large glove. This visual cue evokes an auditory response, as if we can hear the snap of the latex material onto Fuzzy’s wrist. Varying shades of NHS blue manifest from Fuzzy’s lanyard, to her shirt, to her medical mask. Her rich, dark hair falls either side in uniform plaits, framing Fuzzy’s smiling eyes and crinkled nose.

When speaking about her efforts during the pandemic, Fuzzy said:

“Working in the community with COVID-19 has been very busy and stressful. It has had a big impact on the vulnerable elderly people mainly with being in lockdown. All community services have had to step up and provide so much support mentally and physically. Also supporting work colleagues when things have got tough. It has taught people and communities to be thoughtful and help each other. For me to cope I deal with each day one at a time and stay positive and know we are being appreciated.”

Lisa’s portrait of Fuzzy is also published in Portraits for NHS Heroes by Tom Croft, with all royalties being donated to ‘NHS Charities Together’. It is available to order from Bloomsbury, Waterstones and Amazon.

Upon recieving her portrait, Fuzzy said it was “better than winning the lottery”.

To view more of Lisa’s portraits of NHS Heroes and read their stories, visit her website

Lisa’s NHS Portraits: Ellen

Nurse Ellen was Lisa Timmerman’s ninth finished oil painting as part of the social media campaign, #portraitfornhsheroes, in 2020.

Ellen was twenty-three at this time, having raised her three-year old son during her nurse training. After qualifying in 2018, she spent six months on the acute respiratory ward. Shortly after, Ellen started working in the Intensive Care Unit at Kettering General Hospital, Northamptonshire.

Her friend, Beth, who nominated Ellen, said:

“She is a lovely, kind, caring, hardworking young lady who, in her second year of nursing, has been working in ICU due to her abilities.”

The consequential painting is a collage of photos sent to Lisa before and during the pandemic. Ellen, with a face of “perfectly contoured full makeup” on the left, has her arm outstretched as if she is taking a photograph. This not only demonstrates a sense of pride in her appearance, but also her dream role in an impressively short amount of time.

The central figure looks distinctly futuristic and would be unrecognisable if it weren’t for the pair of glasses also on Ellen’s forehead. This masked individual conjoins with an abstract section of Ellen’s face. It highlights the red marks left on Ellen’s nose from wearing the extensive protective clothing. Her drooping eyelids communicate a forlorn expression, as if from distress as well as exhaustion.

According to Lisa, there is immense joy within the family felt for Ellen as a key worker:

“Her mother, Claire, is so proud of her daughter and I can see why.”

Ellen: Photographed with her Portrait

To view more of Lisa’s portraits of NHS Heroes and read their stories, visit her website. 

Lisa’s NHS Heroes: Dr. Matthew Hogg

Dr. Matthew Hogg: Lisa’s NHS Heroes

Dr. Matthew Hogg is a senior obstetrician and gynecologist at the Royal London Hospital in Tower Hamlets. The subject of Lisa Timmerman’s eighth portrait is described as a skilled and compassionate doctor who also has a great sense of humour.

He was nominated by colleague and friend Dr. Fiona Donnelly, who said:

“Matt was due to take a step back and reduce his hours this year, after running his department with huge amounts of unpaid overtime for several years, but typically has thrown himself back into the deep end to support patients and colleagues through the COVID-19 crisis. He looks after his medical and nursing teams so well and never in a million years would he nominate himself for a portrait.”

Dr. Matthew Hogg: Photograph vs. Painting

Though it is a simple composition against a bright backdrop, Lisa experiments with artificial light cascading down Hogg’s protective face covering. She also plays with texture in the folds of the very iconic NHS blue uniform. From the original photo, his eyes are kind and inviting but also understandably tired. His warm and flushed complexion animate Hogg as someone with both a physically and emotionally demanding job.

Reflecting on this experience, Lisa has commented:

“It’s been a great honour to paint Matthew and learn a little about him and see the humour in his eyes. I kept the painting simple so that it was a moment that was just about him and for him, a very special man […] Thank you to Fiona for telling me about this lovely man and exceptional friend”.

Photographed below is Matthew and Fiona having received the portrait, both embracing one another and with beaming smiles. This painting will immortalise their incredible efforts during an extraordinarily challenging period in their careers and lives.

Dr. Matthew Hogg and Dr. Fiona Donnelly Pictured with Portrait

To view more of Lisa’s portraits of NHS Heroes and read their stories, visit her website.

Lisa’s NHS Portraits: Ewan

Ewan: Lisa’s NHS Heroes

This is Ewan, the seventh portrait of this series which celebrates NHS heroes. Painted during the first national lockdown in 2020, Ewan began working for the NHS at only seventeen years old and is the youngest key worker painted by artist Lisa Timmerman.

This portrait reflects Ewan’s remarkable transformation, from a student captured in his school uniform standing in the foreground, unaware of his future self wearing his hospital uniform. These two selves are separated by what seems to be caution tape, conveying the potential endangerment of this selfless act.

Initially, Ewan was at school studying for his ‘vital exams’ and considering his career path when they were canceled. His primary focus then quickly shifted from his education to the safety of others during this very critical period. There is a subtle but reassuring facial expression in both versions of Ewan, as a young man taking on serious health risks to assist the national effort in fighting this disease.

He began working in the hospital he was born in, which was St. John’s Hospital, Livingston, NHS Lothian, Scotland. He was working alongside his proud mother and advanced nurse practitioner, Hazel, who first contacted Lisa. As a domestic worker, Ewan cleaned the hospital to ensure decontamination which was vital to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

This portrait serves as a reminder of a universal experience when our way of life abruptly changed and both mother and son went towards the danger as NHS heroes. Hazel said that when she saw Lisa begin this commission that her ‘heart actually jumped’. Traveling from Leicestershire to Lothian, you can see the uncanny resemblance in the young man holding his portrait.

Ewan: Photographed with his Portrait

To view more of Lisa’s portraits of NHS Heroes and read their stories, visit her website. 

Lisa’s NHS Portraits: Stacie

Stacie: Lisa’s NHS Heroes

This week focuses on Stacie, who was the subject of Lisa Timmerman’s sixth portrait in this series. Stacie is a paediatric nurse working on a children’s ward at Leighton Hospital in Crewe, Cheshire. She was nominated by her mother, Cherie.

The height of the coronavirus pandemic seemed like an everlasting battle in which hospital staff were required to wear numerous layers of protective clothing. Thus, the composition plays with depth in the illusion of a never-ending corridor. The white purity of the backdrop contrasts with Stacie’s flushed skin, with only her blue, imploring eyes visible underneath the mask and plastic shield.

Combating this often frightening aspect, Stacie’s uniform features Paddington Bear patch pockets. This pattern alludes to Stacie’s young patients as does the woollen doll, which seems to lean on Stacie for care and comfort. The doll was gifted to Stacie to reassure her patients but was unable to enter the hospital ward due to possible contamination. This seems highly ironic due to its innocent appearance and the reassurance it could have provided during this uncertain time.

Photographed originally with said doll, it is almost a token of comfort for Stacie as a young mother herself. Painting this portrait caused Lisa to think about “our beautiful young people and how hard they are working during this pandemic”; When Stacie was not working, she was home-educating her two children as well as running errands for her mother.

The pandemic encouraged lots of volunteering within the community, specifically caring for those most vulnerable in society.

Words are not enough for these wonderful people and their continual acts of kindness.

Stacie: Work in Progress

To view more of Lisa’s portraits of NHS Heroes and read their stories, visit her website. You can also read an article about Lisa’s NHS Heroes on the BBC website.