During lockdown 2020 a project that has proved really popular is the Portraits for NHS heroes initiative started by artist Tom Croft. Artists all over the country have taken part, putting a shout out for NHS staff to paint, and then sharing the paintings and the stories of the subjects on social media and gifting the portrait to sitter.
I started out intending to paint key workers in the town where I live, but I soon got swept up in the NHS initiative. I still might continue with the idea of painting our keyworkers, the shopworkers, postmen and women , dustmen who have kept us all going at this time.
Here are my paintings, which are all painted in oil on paper unless otherwise stated (there are a couple I haven’t added):
L-R: Andrea, Katie, Emma and Naomi
Andrea is our local optician. Her life and practice have been turned upside down since lockdown, but she works tirelessly for her patients and helping members of the local community. An incredibly kind lady who was nervous about being painted but I’m happy to say loved her painting.
Katie was my first official NHS portrait. She is a midwife, and Covid-19 has kept her unable to deliver babies at home as she usually does, as her specialty is home-birthing. (I was happy to hear this as my third child was born at home and it was a wonderful experience). Katie has been working between the community and the hospital. She doesn’t wear uniform, her only identifying sign is a very brightly coloured lanyard!
Emma and Naomi
Emma and Naomi are good friends despite working in different hospitals.
They are both busy mums with 3 children each. They both work nights to juggle home life with working and are coping with the home schooling, child care and husbands as best they can on lack of sleep. I painted them in watercolour.
Sunny, Niamh and Melody, Dr. C
Sunny is a hard-working nurse nominated for a portrait by her mum. Her name reflects her portrait!
Niamh and Melody
Niamh and Melody work on the frontline at A&E in Blackburn. This painting is from a photo taken right at the beginning of the pandemic and shows the team spirit and humour of the nurses in the face of great adversity.
Dr. C. works on the frontline in the NHS for a hospital in Leeds. He says “I feel very privileged to be part of a humanitarian national institution that is respected worldwide – the NHS. My thoughts are with the loved ones of those who have fallen due to this pandemic. ”
L-R: Beth, Neelam, Steve
Beth is a cancer nurse working tirelessly during this difficult time, whilst her husband is a fireman.
What a mask!