Medicine’s loss... art’s gain as doc­tor swaps stetho­scope for painter’s pal­ette

EDP Norfolk - - Inside -

MANY PEO­PLE talk about get­ting a lucky break to launch a ca­reer, but for artist Liz Mur­ray that was an ac­tual - and painful - re­al­ity.

She was work­ing as a doc­tor in the busy A&E depart­ment of the Nor­folk and Nor­wich hos­pi­tal last year when she dis­cov­ered that the pain in her leg that she had suf­fered for weeks was, in fact, a stress frac­ture. A spell off work fol­lowed, dur­ing which she came to re­alise thatn re­ward­ing though a ca­reer in medicine was, it was not her real love.

Her pas­sion is for art and dur­ing her time away from work she picked up her wa­ter­colour brushes and be­gan to de­velop a style which even­tu­ally led to her de­ci­sion to leave the NHS.

“I used to do a lot of land­scapes and seascapes on mas­sive can­vases,” said Liz. “When I broke my leg I had to paint sit­ting down, so I pulled out the wa­ter­colour brushes and took to paint­ing pheas­ants in wellies and hats, that sort of thing.

“I shared the pic­tures on so­cial me­dia and it went mad - al­most vi­ral. Then I said to my­self; ‘you know what, I’m go­ing to do this.’”

So Liz quit the NHS and launched her own art busi­ness called LALOA - Live A Life of Art – from her home near San­dring­ham, spe­cial­is­ing in art and home­ware. Her trade­mark style is quirky, charm­ing wa­ter­colours of coun­try an­i­mals, pheas­ants in tril­bies, sheep in wellies, hares in caps and scarves and it has been an es­pe­cial hit, per­haps un­sur­pris­ingly, with the shoot­ing and game com­mu­nity. She is now also find­ing a grow­ing de­mand for pet por­traits.

“We did a lot of shows and fairs this sum­mer, the Royal Nor­folk Show, Holkham and so on,” said Liz. “And the shoot­ing and game peo­ple love it.” She will be tak­ing her wares, which in­clude cush­ions, fab­rics, wall­pa­pers, kitchena­lia, cards and prints, to Christmas fairs around the county, but her suc­cess hasn’t been con­fined to these shores; the global reach of so­cial me­dia means that cus­tomers have come from as far away as New York.

Liz is a na­tive of Middlesbro­ugh and was taught to paint by her grand­fa­ther,

who would take the young­ster up on the beau­ti­ful moors around their Yarm home to paint. “He was an art teacher and taught me the skills of per­spec­tive and paint­ing from a young age,” said Liz.

“He was a re­al­ist but I played around with more con­tem­po­rary styles, a bit of trial and er­ror. But I can’t do peo­ple! I can do a dog por­trait re­ally well but not a per­son.”

She stud­ied medicine in New­cas­tle and met and mar­ried hus­band Philip, also a doc­tor. Their first years to­gether were a whirl of moves – eight in as many years – as they fol­lowed busy ca­reers be­fore land­ing in Nor­folk in 2012. Daugh­ter Florence, now three, is also a bud­ding artist who looks set to fol­low in mum’s brush­strokes. “She’s al­ways got a pen and pa­per in her hand, wher­ever we go,” said Liz.

Does she miss medicine? “I had a pa­tient stop me in the street to say ‘thank you for sav­ing my life’ and for a sec­ond I thought ‘did I do the right thing?’ But I have a bet­ter bal­ance in my life now and I’m much hap­pier; I know I couldn’t go back.”

I had a pa­tient stop me in the street to say ‘thank you for sav­ing my life’ and for a sec­ond I thought ‘did I do the right thing?’

Above: Blac­knose in Wellies Left: Liz Mur­ray and her workTop right (left to right):Old Spot; All About the Hats

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