Santa Rosa painter honors essential workers with portrait series

We’ve all viewed paintings of heroes — generals on horseback, troopers in battle elevating the flag — but how generally have you viewed an ambulance driver or a letter carrier exalted via portraiture? Not generally. John Deckert made a decision to do one thing about that.

Deckert, seventy two, has a prolonged record as skilled artist. For twenty a long time, he lived in New York City. He arrived to stay in Mill Valley in 2003 just before settling in Santa Rosa’s Rincon Valley three a long time in the past, and he has ongoing to exhibit his work, most just lately in an exhibit that opened in Berkeley early very last thirty day period.

He generally has completed both of those portraits and landscapes, but these days, he’s been targeted on a significantly a lot more certain collection of paintings.

Through the statewide shelter-in-put purchase, Deckert has been using shots of individuals who will have to continue to work inspite of the coronavirus pandemic — a landscaping crew, EMTs in an ambulance, a PG&E repair service crew, a tree trimming crew, the UPS shipping driver — and then painting oil portraits of them, ranging in measurement from 5 by 7 inches to 16 by twenty inches.

“I’ll question the individuals coming to do tree trimming or garden care,” Deckert claimed, “and I’ll technique them to just take their picture.”

He’s posted the work on the net, at johndeckert.com/pandemic, wherever you can see it.

A person of his subjects is mailman Ronald Crawley, who has known Deckert for many a long time.

“I to start with achieved John about three a long time in the past as his new mail carrier. Right after a couple a long time, I deduced that he was an artist, and 1 working day I requested him thoughts about how he acquired started out. He despatched me e-mail shots of some of his previous work, and I was impressed with his talent,” Crawley claimed.

“Then 1 working day a couple of months in the past, he photographed me at his mailbox and told me he was accomplishing paintings of individuals continue to accomplishing their work opportunities for the duration of the coronavirus. People assume we’re heroes, or one thing special, but I am just grateful to continue to be working, though I will be retiring at the finish of this thirty day period,” he additional. “I assume his venture is fairly awesome, one thing that will be remembered for a prolonged time to come.”

Deckert started out with the individuals who confirmed up in close proximity to his dwelling. Some of them he presently understood. Then he expanded his territory.

“Just currently I been given selfies of 12 ER nurses at Santa Rosa Memorial Medical center,” he cheerfully introduced 1 current Sunday afternoon. “So, there is a whole lot a lot more work I have to do on this venture.”

This is not Deckert’s to start with exertion to honor these continue to at work when the rest of us find safety.

“In 2017, soon after the wildfires, individuals were being putting symptoms on fences, expressing ‘thank you’ to the to start with responders,” Deckert claimed. “I’m a painter, so my way of expressing thanks is to do a painting.”

With that venture, Deckert worked from pictures to paint portraits he then gave to his subjects, which includes Santa Rosa Hearth Main Anthony Gossner, as very well as the commanding officer of the community Nationwide Guard unit, the ranger at Sugarloaf Ridge Condition Park and the head nurse in the emergency area on the night shift at Santa Rosa Memorial Medical center, amongst others.

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