I made this image during the first lockdown. It was part of a series I called ‘Hospital’, inspired by news reports and documentaries shown through the early stages of the pandemic, when the crisis was acute.
I was struck by the depth of concentration that was still visible through the smallest glimpse of the surgeons’ faces; the lighting reminiscent of paintings from centuries before. It was a profound and evocative scene.
Earlier this year, I decided to enter the painting to the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour 209th exhibition.
I was over the moon to receive the email with the first word, ‘ CONGRATULATIONS’ at the top! My painting was accepted and will travel to London for the show in May.
Throughout the crisis, one promise I made to myself, was to visit London to see my favourite galleries as soon as they were able to reopen.
This impossibly long list, includes the National Gallery, both Tates, the Courtauld, the National Portrait Gallery, the Wallace Collection and the Mall Galleries.
Never in a million years did I think that my first visit will include a show featuring one of my own pictures!
Update – November 2021: ‘Operation I’ has now sold.
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 🌈
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.
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.
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.
These drawings and paintings are my inadequate but heartfelt tribute to all healthcare workers and carers, for the NHS and care homes.