Artist Louise Cobbold loves getting behind good causes.

She has been able to combine her family’s two great passions – art and football – to create her business Sports Personalities in support of a big fundraising ambition.

This year has been something of a whirlwind for Louise and her family.

Her work really took off in February when a portrait of Wolverhampton Wanderers player Ruben Neves (painted for her husband Chris) went viral on social media. Goalkeeper Carl Ikeme was diagnosed with acute leukaemia in 2017, and inspired by the fundraising efforts of Wolves fans, Louise produced 13 further portraits of Wolves players. The works were auctioned and raffled in aid of Cure Leukaemia, raising more than £12,000 on the night. (Watch a BBC video on these paintings)

Louise is now producing the matchday programme cover artwork for Wolves for the 2018/19 season.

For the forthcoming RBSA auction, she has painted a portrait of rock legend Robert Plant, signed by the man himself, with money raised from the sale of the work going to Cure Leukaemia.

Louise’s painting of Robert Plant was signed by the man himself

Louise says:

‘We saw Robert Plant sing at a Wolverhampton Wanderers awards evening back in May and the club photographer Sam Bagnall captured some brilliant images.

‘Robert Plant was quite an obvious person to choose, because he’s so high profile and as Vice President of the club is a huge Wolves fan!

‘Cure Leukaemia is a key partner of our Sports Personalities business and a major driver behind paintings like this one. Chris and I really enjoy working with them and are keen to further develop this relationship.’

She describes the painstaking process behind the creation of her portraits:

‘First I will carefully pencil draw the underpinning drawing for the painting to go onto. The key here is to find the likeness before you start painting.

‘Watercolour gives me the freedom to capture expression and movement, plus there’s the ability to really capture a person and the emotion of the subject.’

Louise became a full-time artist in 2015, swapping the classroom for the artist’s studio where she now works as an independent artist and illustrator.

And now she’s preparing for auction again and hoping that her portrait of Robert Plant generates the same level of excitement as her previous footballer portraits.

‘An art auction is a really exciting process. You have no idea really how much painting will go for, and so it’s always great to see the final bid. I’m proud we’ve raised more than £12,000 so far for Cure Leukaemia.

‘My work has had a really positive reception and everyone has been so supportive,’ she adds.

‘Football fans have been saying how much they love the programme covers, and some even ask me to sign them. The level of exposure over the past eight months has been surreal at times, but every single positive comment means so much.’

Louise believes art can also help people with health issues, beyond the auction room.

‘The local hospital near me have put up art on the walls, and it really makes a difference to the feel of the place.

‘I think it’s important for art to be present in health settings. The whole effect is to make people feel more at home, or to help in some small way as they go through health difficulties.’

Louise’s husband and business partner Chris adds:
‘My two big passions in life are Louise and Wolves, in that order.

‘I’ve been a huge advocate of her work as an artist and when you put that together with Wolverhampton Wanderers and you see her work adorning the matchday programme covers, it really is incredible.

‘She embraces it all. The main thing for her is to be happy with the paintings, and for us is to continue to raise awareness and funds for good causes.’

Jackie Kelly, Head of Corporate Partnerships at Cure Leukaemia said:

‘We are grateful to Louise for giving up her time and being willing to share her talent to produce this painting and look forward to seeing how much this raises on the night to help fund the vital work of Cure Leukaemia. We are also grateful to photographer Sam Bagnall for donating the original image that inspired this fantastic piece.”

‘Our partnership with Deutsche Bank promises to be transformational for the charity and we are really enjoying working with the bank at a number of different events. We are sure that this will be another successful evening in Birmingham showcasing fantastic pieces of artwork.’