Timothy has been a member of the Legion's Bingham Branch, south Nottinghamshire for nearly 12 years. Also a full member of the Guild of Aviation Artists, he's spent a lot of time with the Armed Forces, capturing their 'day jobs' with his pencil, pad and paintbrush.
Timothy bought his first poppy in 1978 to proudly wear on his cub-scout uniform, but it was at the age of 18, when he was invited to the launch of the Douglas Bader Foundation as a result of a pen drawing he created, that he drew the inspiration to create his Battle of Britain paintings 'Reducing the Odds' and 'Tuck's Hurri-bus' (banner image).
The function was at the Mansion House in London, where he met legendary pilots Johnnie Johnson, Hugh Dundas and Denis Crowley-Milling. Speaking of the inspiration behind the paintings, he says "the Spitfire and Hurricane still just seem to have that magic. To the pilots, they are real aeroplanes to fly and they look perfect, unlike modern aircraft that rely on computers."
Reducing the Odds by Timothy O'Brien
"I have been privileged to have been invited by the military to observe them at work. Courtesy of the RAF, I have flown in their Lancaster, Dakota, VC10 and Tristar. The Royal Navy invited me to spend time at sea with HMS Illustrious and most recently HMS Ocean, to sketch their serials during Exercise Joint Warrior, where I also flew in a Chinook and Sea King. The crews look after me as they find me a curiosity; I am different to the ubiquitous photographers by recording their 'day job' with a retro pencil and sketchpad.
The Battle of Britain has become an iconic battle in our nation's history and the heritage of the RAF, just as Waterloo and Trafalgar are to the British Army and Royal NavyTimothy O' Brien