This week features the portrait of Chris Brightling, a Senior Investigator for the National Institute for Health Research Senior Investigator and Clinical Professor in Respiratory Medicine at Leicester’s Hospitals.
His wife, Michelle, contacted Lisa Timmerman to paint one of the leading researchers in trials for COVID-19 treatments during the pandemic. This included not only in hospital, but the ongoing care and understanding how this disease impacts the health of people in the long term, after leaving hospital. Lisa expressed an admiration for Chris’s pioneering project:
“I loved the way he has his sleeves rolled up ready for business & I made the background white to stress his clinical role & to emphasise the #redforresearch where people can read more about it.”
The hashtag, ‘#redforresearch’, was a fundraising campaign by the St. George & Sutherland Medical Research Foundation (SSMRF) in 2020. By incorporating the colour red into one’s wardrobe and donations, the proceeds would help support very crucial medical research.
This theme of red has been carried through Lisa’s art series of NHS Heroes. Although this portrait is more paired back in comparison, it carries a very strong message. Similar to this World War I recruitment poster, this portrait probes further research and involvement with this charitable cause. From both images, their confident body language and friendly smiles suggest a reliable and aspirational man. Both campaigns are persuasive through direct eye contact with the viewer, encouraging participation and unification in this effort.
To paint someone’s portrait can often be an intimate experience, as one is studying another’s facial contours and details over an extended period of time. To meet the real face of your art subject and to see the similarities makes an extraordinary encounter:
“Having studied his face thoroughly some time ago it was bizarre to see someone whose face I knew so well but I’d never met before walking towards me! But It was so lovely to meet Chris & his wife Michelle, they’re chuffed to bits with the portrait which makes me really happy. Prof Chris has been working incredibly hard on the research which will benefit treatments of COVID-19.
Thank you to [artist] Tom Croft for the initiative and Michelle for making us aware of what a wonderful & essential job Chris & his team are doing.”
To view more of Lisa’s portraits of NHS Heroes and read their stories, visit her website.