YORK artist Lesley Birch is showing a selection of her coastal memory paintings in a mini-solo show at the Royal Marsden Hospital in Chelsea, London.

Given that Chelsea is rather a long way from home, how did this exhibition happen? “It’s really the power of social media,” says Lesley. “Another artist tweeted me saying the Royal Marsden would love my paintings, encouraging me to submit a piece for their annual open exhibition last year. The hospital liked it so much, they invited me to stage a solo show this year. Of course, I said yes.”

Lesley’s five works in her A Sense Of Place show are jubilant in style; testament to her belief in the power of art to uplift and distract the mind. “I believe paintings in a hospital environment can help soften the clinical atmosphere. Recently my mother-in-law died of lung cancer and I think everyone is touched in some way by this disease. The Royal Marsden is a specialist cancer hospital doing pioneering research and a cut from any sales of my work will go to help fund more research.”

Exhibition organiser Audrey Ardern-Jones says the paintings look fabulous. “All the patients and staff are thrilled and the hospital trust have decided to buy one of Lesley’s pieces because we love them so much.”


York Press:

One of the paintings by Lesley Birch


Until last July, Lesley was teaching six days a week at St Peter’s School in York. Now she is embracing her artistic life full time.

“I have more time and I can really concentrate on painting in my studio,” she says. “I’m very lucky. I’ve been painting in Ireland and Cambridge already and am off to Italy soon.”

The Royal Marsden is not Lesley’s first show in London. She exhibited in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 2013 and was shortlisted in 2014.

“I mostly show paintings around Yorkshire, which I love, but it’s always exciting to go further afield and reach a wider audience,” she says. “These paintings at the Royal Marsden are landscapes where I’m playing with the power of colour to evoke a sense of place.”

Lesley’s A Sense Of Place paintings are on show in the outpatients department at the Royal Marsden until May. Elsewhere, she is exhibiting at the Zillah Bell Gallery, Thirsk, until February 21, and last week she accepted an invitation to take part in The Pursuit of Happiness, a mixed show at The Gallery in Masham from March 20 to April 24.

Later this year, she will be showing her work at According To McGee in York and the Kunsthuis Gallery at Dutch House, Mill Green Farm, Crayke.