Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Covid-19 #10: Painting Portraits of NHS Heroes - has gone worldwide

Tom Croft's NHS Heroes Project just made it on to the BBC Lunchtime News - see Coronavirus: Artist Tom Croft paints NHS key worker portraits for free | BBC News

Stan @stanislow, one of the frontline staff - by his brother Adebanji Alade VPROI
"who still go to the (work) hospitals to do their part in making sure
things work smoothly during this pandemic!"
The project is simple - and I can explain with
  • one quote and 
  • the pics from Tom's instagram account - and 
  • some of the pics which have been produced as a result.
Tom Croft also explains his project beautifully on his website - Portraits for NHS Heroes
I'm offering a free oil portrait to the first NHS frontline worker to DM me, I will work in lockdown from a photo you can provide me with. You get to keep the oil portrait and when the restrictions are lifted we can have an exhibition of all the portraits.
Croft's post below got 706 comments. A huge proportion of these were from artists and a goodly number were asking for a portrait of somebody who works in the NHS.

He then did a follow-up Instagram Story (below) - where he explained again how it all works - for artists painting NHS Heroes during Coronavirus

If you want to follow it on Instagram follow #portraitsfornhsheroes

I should maybe add that I first met Tom Croft when he painted Kirsty Wark in the Portrait Artist of the Year 2018 Heat at the Wallace Collection that I watched, photographed and then, a year later, blogged about!  He's a thoroughly nice decent bloke! :)

He has the most amazing palette with towers of paint

Tom Croft with his portrait of Kirsty Wark (Episode 8 of PAOTY 2018)

Portrait for Heroes

Here are some of the portraits that have been produced by various artists. I think this is going to a huge exhibition. Maybe there needs to be one for each region?

My first pick from the very many portraits online has been painted by a portrait painter I know well - Adebanji Alade who is Vice President of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters - who has painted his brother Stan who is very much on the frontline during this pandemic - as he explains....

Portrait Deliberate Practice Series 137/250 (11). "THE ANGELS IN DISGUISE I", 6” x 8” Oil on Board. This is my brother Stan @stanislow, one of the frontline staff, who still go to the (work) hospitals to do their part in making sure things work smoothly during this pandemic! I think they are angels in disguise and I pray God will give them wisdom, understanding and anointing! May God protect them and guide them as they go in and out while the plague is raging.@applaudnhs Stan Is dual trained in anaesthetics & scrub, working in an operating theatres, his job is to help the surgeons when operating patients coming will emergency cases and elective cases. He also helps put the anaesthetist to put patients to sleep when being operated on. These are the angels in disguise, God bless them!❤️🙏 #nhs #portrait #justdoit #routine #frontlinestaff #grind #dream #keyworkers #believe #itispossible #oilonboard #addictivesketcher #adebanjialade #angelsindisguise #share #convid19 #coronavirus #showdem #practice #demo #care #angels #health #angelsindisguise #leicester #applaudnhs #portraitsfornhsheroes
A post shared by Adebanji Alade (@addictivesketcher) on

More portraits below.......

View this post on Instagram

I am absolutely delighted to be part of the #portraitsfornhsheroes which is a charitable initiative and brilliant idea created by @tomcroftartist Portrait artists are paired with a NHS frontline worker to produce and donate a free portrait of them as a small way of saying thank you and to show how much we care. My NHS key worker is Paula who works as a nurse in neuro intensive care. Coronavirus has made a huge impact on her family, personally and professionally. Her husband is also a nurse and her sister works as a doctor in Spain where Paula is originally from. She and her husband have a 3 year old boy and an 8 month old baby girl, they are both worried about becoming ill or infecting their children when they get home. Thank you Paula for entrusting me with drawing your portrait and capturing your deeply soulful eyes it has been an absolute honour and thank you for all that you and your colleagues do and continue to do tirelessly to keep us safe. ❤️

A post shared by Michele Ashby PSA (@micheleashbyartist) on

The project has gone worldwide - with the hashtag of #portraitsforhealthheroes

I'm calling this one done! Here is my portrait of Dr. Nikolaas De Maeyer for the #heldentegencovid19 initiative. He is a pneumologist at the Covid unit at the Heilig Hart hospital in Leuven. His whole team has been working very hard for the last several weeks to fight the virus. With this painting, I am thanking him - and symbolically all the other health care workers - for their incredible efforts to fight Covid 19. We are all experiencing difficult times these days (economically or otherwise), but the key workers in healthcare and surrounding services are those who have to face the enemy day after day. Including being at risk of being infected themselves. So thank you! Dankuwel! 🙏💐 . Voor kunstenaars die graag willen deelnemen aan dit initiatief: het is nog niet te laat 🙂 Als eerbetoon aan de helden die elke dag in de 'frontlinie' vechten tegen Covid 19, bieden kunstenaars een gratis portret aan, aan de held van hun keuze. Meer informatie op Heldentegencovid19.jouwweb.be. Delen op de sociale media mag met de #heldentegencovid19 #portretvaneenheld. Dit initiatief werd gestart in Engeland, door kunstenaar Tom Croft @tomcroftartist. Wij proberen dit nu ook te lanceren in België en Nederland, want ook hier zijn veel zichtbare en onzichtbare helden. . . . #portraitsfornhsheroes #portrayourheroes #heroagainstcovidportrait #dankjewel #covidpainting #isolationart #lifeinthetimeofcorona #lockdownart #oilpainting #uzleuven #ikzorg #samenerdoor #samentegencorona #lockdownlife #covi̇d19 #coronacrisis #zorgsector #quarantaine #portret #olieverf #artoftheday #instaart #portraitpainter #belgianart #mariekelenaerts
A post shared by Marieke Lenaerts (@mariekelenaerts) on

Part 2, added watercolor (swipe) A couple of days ago, I joined @mariekelenaerts initiative (originally started in GB by @tomcroftartist) to support the health workers fighting Covid 19 I hope my fellow artists will follow our example The rules are simple: 1. Make a free portrait from someone that you feel, deserves it because of his/hers effort against corona. 2. It should be free and it's the intention that the artist hands over the portrait to his/hers subject when the crisis is over. 3. Tag the work on your social media with #portrayourheroes #heroagainstcovidportrait and a local translated tag #portraitsfornhsheroes #heldentegencovid19 #portretvaneenheld #porträtiereunsereHelden #HeldgegenCovidPortrait 4. Don't transgress the social distancing rules to make your portrait. Stay safe. 5. Spread the news, so we can 'thank' as many healthcare workers, And thanks for your help Joeri #callforartists #saythankyou #covid #covi̇d19 #corona #healthcare #support
A post shared by Drawings by Joeri Van Royen (@joeridraws) on


  1. Hi Tom.
    I'm a pastel artist exhibiting in Oxfordshire Artweeks. Not usually a portrait artist but have done figurative work and I'm confident I can turn my hand to most things. Can you match me up with a hero?

  2. Hello I would be happy to paint a portrait of an NHS hero for free.

  3. Sorry for reposting. I am Eric White, the Oxfordshire pastel artist who posted on Tuesday. I'd be very happy to paint an NHS here for free.

  4. Eric - I'm REPORTING on the project. I don't have anything to do with matching artists with sitters. You need to read all the links - particularly the one on Tom's website and then you will know what you need to do.

    1) I do NOT match artists with subjects
    2) This is NOT the place to leave your name if you want to participate in the project


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