Sunday, 14 April 2024
Sunday, 14 April 2024

Artist helps hospice celebrate 40th-anniversary with portraits of staff and volunteers

BEESTON artist, Matthew Lyons is painting a series of large artworks featuring Treetops Hospice staff and volunteers to help the local charity celebrate its 40th anniversary.

Matthew, 53, has been painting all his life and has a passion for making the ‘ordinary become extraordinary’ through his portraits.

This passion culminated in a public exhibition last year of twenty individual portraits depicting the ‘People of Beeston’. During a public tour of the exhibition, he was approached by Treetops Hospice.

Matthew said:

“After the ‘People of Beeston’ exhibition, I had the idea to do something similar, but this time with groups, so painting groups of those who work and volunteer at Treetops is the perfect next project for me.

“It also gives me a great opportunity to paint some quite large paintings – three times larger than I’m used to! Most of the time you have to consider that a commissioned painting is going to hang in someone’s home, so it has to be on a domestic scale. In the hospice, there is space to accommodate larger paintings.”

Treetops Chief Executive, Julie Heath, explained that the portraits were a wonderful way to help the charity celebrate its significant milestone, she said:

“We are so proud of everything we’ve achieved in the local community over the last 40 years. During this time, we’ve supported hundreds of patients and their families at the most difficult times of their lives.

“We couldn’t have achieved this without the dedication and commitment of all our staff and volunteers so to be able to immortalise some of them in paint is wonderful. We will proudly display the paintings for everyone to enjoy for many more years to come.”

In total, Matthew is painting three group portraits over six months. The staff and volunteers involved come from across all areas of the end-of-life hospice including nurses, admin staff, the hospice cook, a counsellor and volunteers from the Long Eaton Treetops charity shop and gardening team.

The group portraits will be revealed later this year as part of the hospice’s 40th-anniversary celebrations.

Matthew concluded:

“I feel honoured to be able to work with the people from the hospice to create these paintings which will celebrate the people and the work that they do. I’m very excited to see how it comes together.

“Every painting I do has something to challenge me. With these portraits, it’s going to be creating an interesting painting which has a recognisable group of people. I want to create something which is of interest to the people who recognise the staff and volunteers but also for those who don’t; because of the composition, the light or the texture in the painting. That way the paintings will have longevity. I hope that the hospice will love them and want to hang them for the next 40 years!”

Matthew’s inspiration comes from artists such as Vincent Van Gogh, Lucian Freud, Paula Rego and Billy Childish. He paints from photographs onto heavily primed plywood boards with charcoal under-drawing which he likes to have shown through the painting.

Once complete, Matthew is gifting the paintings to the hospice but welcomes donations towards the costs of the painting or framing.

This year, Treetops Hospice is celebrating 40 years of caring for people and their families in the local community. During this time, the hospice has supported thousands of patients with end-of-life nursing care and bereavement counselling.

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