Ulster Hospital respiratory consultant ‘breathing art’ with oil paintings that are raising cash for Ukraine

A hospital consultant who took up oil painting to relax during the pressures of the Covid pandemic is now selling her creations to raise funds for Ukraine.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 25th July 2022, 6:51 pm

Dr Jennifer Elder, a consultant respiratory physician at the Ulster Hospital, uses the scenery of the Co Down coast to inspire her pictures.

Dr Elder, together with other doctors from across the UK, have joined MAU (Medical Aid Ukraine) which raises funds to send essential health supplies to Ukraine.

Equipment and ambulances donated to the cause are now in active use in Ukrainian hospitals and fundraising by MAU totals almost £100,000.

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South Eastern Health Trust chairman Jonathan Patton is presented with his painting by respiratory consultant physician, Dr Jennifer Elder

Dr Elder, who was born in Scotland but has lived in Co Down for the last 19 years, said her artwork has been inspired by beauty spots such as Strangford Lough, Murlough and Tobermory.

She said: “I am a respiratory doctor first and foremost but one who now breathes art – there are many things that make us feel alive and, for me, painting is one of them.

“I started to paint during lockdown as a way of escaping, after long days working in a Covid-19 high dependency ward.

“All of us experience hundreds of different lights and moods in a day, which I hope I have captured in my paintings.

“It is one of the reasons why I started to paint.”

Impressed by her work and her commitment to Ukraine, the acting chairman of the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust, Jonathan Patton, commissioned a painting of the new inpatient ward block at the Ulster Hospital for his office.

Mr Patton said: “I was so impressed, yet in many ways not surprised, at how our staff responded so quickly and so generously to the Ukrainian appeal for help.

“I believed it was important to mark our staff’s generosity of spirit.

“When I saw Dr Elder’s paintings and realised she was donating 100% of the funds from her paintings to the Ukraine crisis, I asked her to commission a painting for the office of the chairman within trust headquarters.

“Jennifer’s painting of the Ulster Hospital site is a fabulous creation and celebrates not just our staff donations to Ukraine, but recognises our development and commitment to our patients and staff within the trust.

“I am delighted to accept her painting and it now hangs proudly in the office.”

Dr Elder said she is following in the footsteps of her late grandfather, who was an artist and art teacher.

• To see her collection of artwork and for more information, visit her Etsy page – BREATHEartJE.