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Portraits for NHS Heros

These are the three paintings which I created as part of the initiative by artist Tom Croft called 'Portraits for NHS heros'.  The Oxford based artist shared his portraits on Instagram and encouraged other artists to take part. It was an emotional experience to be a part of this initiative.

This is the second painting I made of Sarah To. Having created a realistic portrait, I then felt free to be more expressive with the second piece. I have tried to share my emotional response to what I can only imagine working in a hospital in a covid ward could be like. I love to explore texture and layers in the paint which feels like a more emotional connection with the work.

Acrylic on wooden panel.

25 x 18 cm.


Natalie contacted me after seeing my portrait of Sarah.  She wanted to mark this time and so I decided to create her portrait gift, as part of my current exploration of portraits.


When I sent her a photograph of the picture, she told me that it made her Mum cry (in a good way)!

A little about Natalie: “I’m an Emergency Medicine Consultant. Since the start of the covid crises we separated our ED into two and I’ve been on the covid side. I’ve also had to go full time which has been tough on my three kids. My husband is a doctor too - also on a covid ward. So we tag team for the family.  I’ve found covid patients really tough - especially not being able to have relatives here and talking to very distressed relatives on the phone and not being able to put my arm round them. But the team has been amazing - my ED family have been as resilient, funny, good humoured and compassionate as ever. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else - my job is a privilege and I’m trained and paid for it - I’m no hero, I’m blessed.”

Acrylic on paper 12 x 17 cms.

Sarah To_own portrait_IMG_2167 (2).jpg

This is the first painting I made of Sarah To, who was nominated by a friend to receive a portrait as part of the initiative. I painted this from a photograph which she sent me. 

These are Sarah’s words: “ Hi, my name is Sarah and I usually work in an outpatient clinic at Swindon’s Great Western Hospital.  I have been redeployed for the past 2 months to a ward with suspected and confirmed Covid patients. I had not worked on a ward for a long time so the prospect was very scary and daunting.  I won't deny it is incredibly tough physically and emotionally but we all have pulled together and supported one another.  Not a day goes by where I don't find myself crying or close to crying because of the emotions we are all having to deal with and also feeling helpless at times.  I love being a Nurse, have always loved being a Nurse and will continue to love being a Nurse when all this is done.  Thank you to Sheryll for these beautiful portraits of me.  I'm so honoured and privileged that she has done this for me. Stay safe everyone.”

Acrylic on wooden panel.

18 x 25 cm.

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