Lisa’s NHS Portraits: Abbie

Abbie: Lisa’s NHS Heroes

Lisa Timmerman’s third NHS portrait of this series was Abbie, a neonatal nurse at the Leicester Royal Infirmary. When this was painted, Abbie was pregnant and wanted the portrait’s focus to be her relationship with her baby during her experience of the coronavirus pandemic. A pillar of strength in many regards, this included going to baby scans alone due to Covid-19 restrictions. Abbie’s friend, Kate, contacted Lisa and told her of a selfless and caring individual:

“‘[Abbie] is super motivated, kind & passionate in her work & her life in general. Even at her wedding last year she did a [charity] collection for a little girl who she supports”.

This photo, in which Abbie is smiling downward and lovingly holding her baby bump, led to a portrait which celebrates new life and motherhood. Whilst in her uniform, It also commends the modern working-day woman, and the stressful, potentially harmful situation Abbie places herself in to help others.

Abbie: Neonatal Nurse at the Leicester Royal Infirmary

Relaying her own personal experience, Lisa recalls that painting Abbie was an emotional experience:

“As an artist & mother I found this painting very emotional to paint, thinking of Abbie & how I felt 29 years ago, pregnant with my 1st child.”

Abbie also spoke of her mentality whilst working through the pandemic, stating:

“Covid-19 represents a time where I had to battle with my internal mother instincts to keep my own child safe whilst having my moral compass guiding me to care for other mummy & daddy’s babies.”

Abbie wanted the portrait to represent her strength during this time, coping as a nurse and a first-time mother.

Abbie: Photo vs. Painting

Whilst Abbie’s portrait captures her true likeness, it is ceremonially adorned with flowers, rainbows and balloons. These details were inspired by Czech painter Alphonse Mucha, known for his idealised female figures who were often painted in nature. Rather than capturing a crisis, Lisa hoped to “capture something beautiful in this painting for Abbie, her husband and their first baby”.

‘Precious Stones and Flowers’ by Alphonse Mucha (1900)

When Abbie came to collect her portrait from Lisa, she was thirty-four weeks pregnant. She worked at the Leicester Royal Infirmary, in the neonatal unit, until she was twenty-eight weeks pregnant. At forty weeks, she returned to the Infirmary and gave birth to her first child.

This series of portraits has allowed us the privilege of hearing stories of those working for the NHS, who truly embody the word ‘hero’.

Abbie and Her Portrait

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

Lisa’s NHS Portraits: Ruth Nurse

Ruth Nurse: Lisa’s NHS Heroes

Over a year has passed since Lisa Timmerman’s art series of NHS Heroes began.

When the COVID-19 pandemic led to the first national lockdown in March 2020, there was a large emphasis on thanking and supporting the NHS. Whilst risking infection, hospital staff were leading the fight against what Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the “invisible enemy”. Masks and gloves, as well as other layers of protective clothing, were first worn by NHS staff before becoming the social norm that it still is today (pending post-lockdown). I imagine these images often lacked that human connection which is so vital in critical care, and the identities of those behind the vacant PPE lost.

The online campaign, #portraitsfornhsheroes, was a way for artists to truly express admiration. It was an initiative instigated by Oxford based portrait painter, Tom Croft, to connect artists and NHS workers through social media. Whether it was direct communication, or often through family and friends, it enabled artists to paint and gift portraits during this time. Not only was this movement a way to capture this strange and uncertain time, but also to learn more about the experiences of those behind the paintings.

Lisa has since painted twenty NHS portraits, which are currently exhibited at the Leicester Royal Infirmary.

Lisa’s NHS Heroes: Leicester Royal Infirmary Exhibition
Ruth Nurse (50 x 50cm)

Lisa’s first portrait, ‘Ruth Nurse’, was a day surgery nurse before she was required to work in intensive care during this pandemic. Her daughter reached out to Lisa via Twitter, so that the portrait would be a surprise gift.

The original photograph is clearly taken in the midst of the action, as seen by the frantic co-workers behind Ruth. This further emphasised by the diagonal brush strokes which appear to break through the background colour.

Ruth Nurse: Work in Progress

Typically, Lisa does use red as a ground colour for many of her paintings. However, in the context of an emergency room, this colour emphasises alertness to danger, with the yellow stripes appearing to caution the viewer. The rest of the colour palette appears muted in comparison, as the nurse is swaddled in monotonous protective clothing.

Due to the ballooned shape of Ruth’s body, we are drawn towards her defined hands and eyes. Only a small area of her face can be seen, which appears darkened by the fluorescent lighting reflecting onto the suit and visor worn. We can only imagine the amount of discomfort in her numerous layers and lenses from her glasses and hazmat suit.

With her identifiable features hidden within her uniform, she can only be truly identified by the small text written across her chest; Ruth’s name and occupation reveals her individuality, yet it is also comforting for her patients to know the person behind the vast amount of PPE worn.

From this portrait, we can see the true diligence of ‘Ruth Nurse’ and her ability to work under these hazardous conditions. To quote Lisa, “Words are not enough for these wonderful people”.

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

Swimming into Summer

Koi Study No. 7 (50 x 50cm)

**Words by Amber L-J**

Like most mornings, I walk to the bottom of my garden with a sense of purpose.

The winter garden has now thawed, and I feel the sun coaxing me out of my dormancy long before I step outside. I gingerly step as to not disturb the chatty birds or the wandering bees. I begin in my slippers, but the temptation to feel the grass underfoot soon becomes a compulsion. I enjoy the tickling sensation on the soles of my feet, and being connected to my surroundings.

I finally get to the fish pond and struggle to make out the dull, distant shapes. I too enjoy the immersion of the water, often thinking to my childhood summers of white sands and clear waters. My eyes scan the water’s surface, as I sprinkle a thin layer of fish food and wait. I watch the orange blur at the bottom of the fish pond manifest into the koi fish who snap up their breakfast hungrily.

The interaction is soothing for me, as a simple relationship which requires so little. In exchange, I receive a private performance of twirling orange bodies reflected in the tumultuous water. The tiny dancers are aware of their talents, and they never fail to parade their beauty for my own enchanted eyes.

**Article continued on Page Two**

Inside Blues: 2020 Edition

Inside Blues (40x40cm with 3cm depth)

**Words by Amber L-J**

It is safe to say that this year has been like no other.

My home has been a haven from the invisible enemy which lurks outside these four walls. As a household of normally busy schedules, that chaos of general life has slowed down considerably. With Christmas approaching, this would typically be our annual moment of togetherness. But this year I am thankful, as this small moment has stretched over months of national lockdowns and tier systems. Whatever hardships have been faced, they have been faced as a family.

With no stressful commute each morning, I no longer rely on a booming alarm but wake up at the first sign of light. I love the peaceful innocence of mornings, and the potential of what the day may bring, however limited.

My festive and fluffy socks muffle the sound of my feet down the stairs, so not to wake my snoozing family. I see the remnants of the night before, and with the kettle at a dull roar, I fill the sink and get to work. My soapy hands squeak over the dinner plates.

As I lift the plates from the sink to dry them, I look upward and am dazzled by the golden sunlight seeping into my kitchen. I am half-asleep dreaming of the world outside, post-pandemic. The high whistle of a rather impatient kettle presses on for some time before I realise.

I sit down and switch on the television for company. As I watch the morning broadcast, I clutch the warmth of fresh coffee to my chest, lifting my once-heavy heart.

With the rest of the world awakening to the news of a vaccination, this has been the most memorable moment in a year that, to most, would be one to forget.

**Article continued on Page 2**

‘Tones of Velvet Bohemia’

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My second solo exhibition, ‘Tones of Velvet Bohemia’ will be taking place at The Alfred East Gallery in Kettering mid November for 4 weeks, so I am working hard towards that at the moment. There will be around 20 new paintings on the theme ‘Tones of Velvet Bohemia’ in a variety of different sizes – the challenge was to decide on the name for the exhibition before I’d done the paintings!!

Neutral Buoyancy

I’m feeling elated!!!!

I’ve finished all 14 paintings for my first solo exhibition with 7 weeks to spare – such a great feeling as I can now paint for fun again! The pressure is off & I will more than likely produce better work that I will end up using instead but the feeling that I don’t have to is such a relief! I’ve been working day & night on it since the beginning of the year and now I’m going to go to the cinema, to a gallery or two, mooch round the shops & yes, eventually, do all the stuff that’s piled up on my desk! But for now I’m just going to enjoy feeling elated!

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‘Free range Lavender’ Acrylic on canvas 120cm x100cm
http://www.lisatimmerman.co.uk
My first solo exhibition, ‘Shades of an English Life’ will be on display for 3 months from July 4th 2014 at ‘The 78 Derngate Gallery’ in Northampton city centre, England.

Naming my first solo exhibition

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‘Beautiful Day’ Acrylic on canvas 40cm x 40cm

The ’78 Derngate’ Gallery have awarded me my first solo exhibition and wanted to know, for their advertising, what I’d be calling it. It runs from July 4th to September 28th this year in Northampton city centre.

Being new to this sort of thing I have agonised over this – and at the same time wondered if it is important at all?! I have swung from thinking, ” it really doesn’t matter, the paintings will speak for themselves” to, “it really does matter, the title could alienate people and put them off even wanting to view it!”

And so daily I have been coming up with, & noting down, different titles, trying to find a few words or a phrase that encapsulates this collection of 14 paintings that I have been working on day & night for the past 4 months.

I often paint roses but I also paint lavender, chickens and interiors – I paint my life, or at least the good bits, when the sunlight comes in and makes the mundane beautiful – for this exhibition I have even painted my kitchen sink.

So after making a final decision fifteen times, the deadline day arrived and I had to make the FINAL final decision. I sent over a jpeg of ‘Beautiful Day’ and asked them to call my exhibition, “Shades of an English Life”. I hope it doesn’t matter and at the same time I hope it makes people want to view it. Only time will tell.

“Shades of an English Life’ will be on display at ’78 Derngate’, Northampton from July 4th – Sept 28 2014 with a ‘Meet the Artist’ event on July 5th from 2pm-4pm. ( I, for one, will definitely be ready for a glass of wine.)

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‘Everything But’ Acrylic on canvas 40cm x 40cm

 

Painting Dreams

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‘Here Come The Girls.’  Acrylic on canvas. 2013

http://www.LisaTimmerman.co.uk

One of the greatest things ( of which there are many) of committing to being a painter as a full time profession is that in those first semi conscious moments of the day my subconscious mind is filled with work……images of paintings yet un-started. I can see them and I love them – the colours, the composition but most importantly the feeling of them is overwhelming. That is the challenge, to capture the joy of them.

 

When sitting down to paint them, the fear is overworking them, wasting time, over thinking it. They arrive so easily and confidently in my mind – if only my conscious mind was as confident!

 

2013 has been a good year for me. In my second year of painting I have sold 15 original paintings through ‘Open Studio‘, my website, my Facebook page & a privately organised ‘invite only‘ exhibition. My prices ( with my confidence) have doubled in a year and I have customers awaiting notification of new original work. 

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‘Roses in Oils’  Oil on canvas. 2013 

Having read ‘The Yellow House‘ by Martin Gayford about Van Gogh & Gauguin’s nine turbulent weeks in Arles as my starting point, I set out as a painter to fill my home with my paintings, being content to leave behind a body of work for my family with no expectations & only a desire to say ‘I woz ‘ere’! To sell 15 paintings, without the help of a gallery, in my second year has been an unexpected bonus to say the least.

 

In addition to this I have been awarded my first solo exhibition by ‘78 Derngate’ in Northampton city centre. Anyone who is familiar with this historic building renovated by Charles Rennie Mackintosh with its elegant art gallery attached will understand my excitement. I literally thought they’d made a mistake when I was chosen and I am honoured that they have such faith in me as an artist to give me this opportunity. They will be displaying my work – around 12 paintings for 3 months between July- Sept this year.

 

They will be exhibiting the dreams that I get onto canvas in the next few months as I currently have no paintings. In 20 weeks time I will have enough work to fill 78 Derngate & my own gallery in Foxton near Market Harborough for ‘Open Studios’ in September. Once I get going I’m very productive & have phases of putting my overalls on at 4 in the morning if I can’t sleep.

 

Ironically I haven’t been able to hang my own paintings on my walls at home but with the money I’ve earnt over the past 2 years I have been able to invest in the works of my contemporaries. This has given me so much pleasure and I now have beautiful original artwork by Janet Singer, Scott Bridgewood, Stephen Holmes, Kelly Gardner, Sheena Henderson & Imogen Skelley hanging alongside work previously bought from my mentor Paul Wright. My home is close to the way I imagined it being – filled with creativity, inspiration & character.

 

To me, it’s a strange world we live in, where a generation think nothing of spending hundreds of pounds on body art which will only deteriorate with time and finally decompose to nothing but may never consider buying a piece of art directly from an artist as acceptable value for money. 

   

Like most people, my life is compounded by the challenges of 21st Century living and life outside my paintings is not always a bed of roses but my home is now permanently enriched by the pleasure of owning other peoples original art. Their beauty & permanence is somehow reassuring.

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‘Sophie, Waiting.’  Acrylic on canvas. 2013

http://www.LisaTimmerman.co.uk