Portraits of health workers created by a North Lakes artist are set to appear in two new publications celebrating the work of NHS staff during the coronavirus crisis.
Former midwife and health visitor Joan Prickett, from Blindcrake, is elated that two of her four portraits of NHS heroes feature in Through the Locking Glass — lockdown creations from the artists of Cumbria, which has been published by Inspired by Lakeland.
Profits from the book will go to Cumbria NHS Trust and some local arts organisations.
One of the portraits is of Scottish community nurse Kirsty Swords which shows her at work at the start of the crisis looking tired and looking over a visor and face mask dressed in a plastic apron over her blue uniform.
The second is of community physiotherapist Eve Richards who worked in the Maryport and Cockermouth areas.
“Both of these women were going into homes knowing their patients had COVID-19 in their pathetic personal protection equipment,” said Joan, who was a latecomer to her career in art having previously worked in midwifery, teaching and therapeutic counsellor.
The portrait of Kirsty Swords is also to be included in a glossy coffee table book by Bloomsbury, with all royalties going to NHS Charities Together.
It was the brainchild of classically trained portrait painter Tom Croft and a couple of thousand portraits were produced with 350 chosen to appear in the book, which will be available in shops or online from 12th November but can be preordered from local bookshops or via the publisher’s website.
And Joan has had further success with a painting called Greek Matriarch being selected by the prestigious Society of Women Artists for their online exhibition. It is the first time she has entered a portrait for the exhibition.
She said she was honoured to be in the company of fellow Cumbrian artists Kate Bentley and Catherine MacDiarmid who are based in the south of the county.
“It has given me a big boost because I was feeling quite down like a lot of people were at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis,” said Joan.
“My background years and years ago was that I was a midwife, health visitor and also a counselling therapist, so I felt I wanted to do something, but I’m really on the vulnerable side so have to be very careful about what I could do.
“So when I saw that Tom Croft had started this initiative I knew how much it meant for people.
“I have been doing a lot of portraits from life and I made a point of talking to the four people and felt like I knew them a bit and got a lot of photographs.
“I would not have been able to do the paintings as I did if I had not been doing a lot of portraits from life.
“Once I had done them I felt a bit empty, it’s like sitting exams, so it was super to get one of the paintings in the Society of Women Artists online exhibition.”