Remember…

Barbed Poppies - Watercolour, ink and charcoal by Maxine Dodd
Barbed Poppies
Barbed Poppies


They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Laurence Binyon

Drawing August: Fingerprints and all!

Gladioli pastel by Maxine Dodd
Gladioli pastel by Maxine Dodd
Fingerprints and all!

Second drawing for this year’s Drawing August online event. This is pastel on Ingres paper. I used Schmincke and Sennelier here; the pigments are so strong and vibrant, they are always exciting to use.

Pastel is possibly the purest form of painting – we work with pure pigment and little else!

Amanda McLean

Soft (chalk) pastels were the first medium that hooked me into art properly. I made a picture when I was at school using pastel on black paper. It was a revelation, the colours and contrast were something wonderful and that was it, I was off on my journey. Lovely memories!

Drawing August: Especially Espresso

Especially Espresso, mixed media drawing of gladioli by Maxine Dodd

It’s Drawing August time! An online event to celebrate and encourage drawing. Simply post a drawing every day throughout the month using the hashtag #DrawingAugust.

Especially Espresso

This is my first for this year, a mixed media drawing of my gladioli ‘Espresso’ which I made with a combination of watercolour and charcoal.

Hospital – 3

Now that lockdown measures are being eased, there is hope of a return to surgical operations recently cancelled due to the intense need of hospital resources and staff covering the pandemic.

My image shows an operation taken from a recent BBC News item. This is the source image, photographed from the TV.

Operation – Source image
BBC News 10:15pm

As ever, I was so struck by the intense atmosphere and also the characters revealed by what is the smallest glimpse of their features.

The other striking element for me is the light we can see here. I can’t help myself, I see the light found in paintings by Caravaggio and Rembrandt, the intensity of colour and feeling, resonates from hundreds of years ago to the present day.

See the features on the faces to the top right in this painting by Caravaggio; only the top of the heads are in light, showing eyes and noses, just as the masks do with the surgeons.

The Taking of Christ
Caravaggio, 1602
National Gallery of Ireland

Here are my efforts in oil pastel, ink and water colour, a long way off the beauty of the photo and certainly the painting! Maybe the photo says it best here? I will let you decide.

Operation #1
Oil pastel and watercolour study
16cm x 16cm (approx)
Operation #2
Oil pastel and watercolour study
16cm x 16cm (approx)

Thursday #1 – ‘Resus is a high level PPE area’

'Resus is a high level PPE area'

The initiative to clap for carers officially came to a close last week – so I wanted to offer a gesture of support to everyone providing continued, dedicated service by publishing a picture on Thursdays at 8pm, the time we all came out to clap.

This image is a study drawing, made in oil pastel and ink, of doctors and nurses entering resus through the entrance doors, with printed signs – ‘Resus is a high level PPE area’.

All the issues around PPE in the UK brought to mind in a simple phrase.

With thanks to all who work on the frontline. Keep well 🌈

Resus is a high level PPE area, oil on pastel, 40cm x 40cm
‘Resus is a high level PPE area’

Hospital – 2

'It's so hot in there, we can't take a drink with our kit on' - Staff on ICU, BBC 2's 'Hospital'

At the start of the Lockdown, the BBC were allowed to film the staff and patients at the Royal Free Hospital in London, a huge hospital that specialises in contagious diseases. The resulting footage was made into two special programmes called, ‘Hospital’ which were broadcast on Monday and Tuesday – Week 8 of Lockdown.  The drawings and paintings shown here are based on images from these films.

'It's so hot in there, we can't take a drink with our kit on' - Staff on ICU, BBC 2's 'Hospital' - Sketch 1
‘It’s so hot in there, we can’t take a drink with our kit on’ – Staff on ICU, BBC 2’s ‘Hospital’ – Sketch 1

This trio of images were from the first programme where the healthcare nurses were able to film in the ICU, wearing chest cameras.  This particular scene took place with the words of the staff explaining how difficult it was to work whilst wearing the essential PPE.  

The basic complaint was the overpowering heat. How impossible it was even to take a drink whilst wearing their kit.

Staff were hot, and stressed. 

'It's so hot in there, we can't take a drink with our kit on' - Staff on ICU, BBC 2's 'Hospital' Sketch 2
‘It’s so hot in there, we can’t take a drink with our kit on’ – Staff on ICU, BBC 2’s ‘Hospital’ Sketch 2

These words are on first sketch. The second sketch shows figures only, just trying to get them right.

The final piece, essentially a full painting with watercolour, ink and gouache, shows the ward’s water dispenser in the distance – literally and metaphorically a long way off.

'It's so hot in there, we can't take a drink with our kit on' - Staff on ICU, BBC 2's 'Hospital'
‘It’s so hot in there, we can’t take a drink with our kit on’ – Staff on ICU, BBC 2’s ‘Hospital’

These drawings and paintings are my inadequate but heartfelt tribute to all healthcare workers and carers, for the NHS and care homes. 

They are all, quite simply, brilliant.

Thank you.

Stay safe and stay well

Hospital

Hospital, critical care, healthworkers, watercolour pen and ink drawing

It’s hard to know where to begin… what a time it has been and will continue to be. Everything turned upside down. Tranquility where there was turmoil, confusion where there was certainty.

Royal Free Hospital – BBC 2

Every news bulletin brings a new story and a new facet to the crisis.

At the beginning of the year, my mum was admitted to Leicester Royal Infirmary and subsequently the Glenfield Hospital.

Hospital – Study sheet 1

A helpless observer at her bedside, I watched the staff at work, at first in the Intensive Care Unit and later the recovery wards.

Hospital – Study sheet 1 – Detail, with newborn

The ICU staff were remarkable, as they calmly and methodically went through the process to stabilise her condition and to move her to the next stage of her recovery – which indeed they did.

Their work undertaken with great kindness, patience and gentle humour. Wonderful, lovely people and tender in years to my old eyes.

Hospital – Study sheet 1 – Detail

Sitting as a helpless observer, I felt my instinct to capture them working with my pen and watercolours. I couldn’t help myself… in my head I followed the lines, the colours and movement.

Of course it wasn’t possible, but the image of the doctors and nurses working together has been with me ever since.

Hospital – Study sheet 2

At the start of the Lockdown, the BBC made two programmes about the Royal Free Hospital in London, a huge hospital that specialises in contagious diseases.

Hospital – Study sheet 2 – Detail, Patient coming

The programmes follow members of staff and patients through the early days of the disease. The staff show the exact same qualities that I experienced with my mum at Leicester.

The programmes were shown this week. I began to draw and then cry as all the memories flooded back. I am still a helpless observer waiting and watching as they work so hard. I guess we all are.

Hospital – Study sheet 2 – Detail

The one thing I can do, we all can do is say ‘Thank you’ and pay tribute as much as we can.

Hospital, BBC 2 – Locking the cupboard

These are my drawings based on the programme as a small tribute to all healthcare workers and carers, who are just brilliant. Thank you!

Stay safe and stay well