April 21, 2021

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Arts Eternal

Santa Rosa painter honors essential workers with portrait series

3 min read
We have all seen paintings of heroes — generals on horseback, troopers in struggle elevating...

We have all seen paintings of heroes — generals on horseback, troopers in struggle elevating the flag — but how often have you seen an ambulance driver or a letter provider exalted via portraiture? Not often. John Deckert made a decision to do a thing about that.

Deckert, 72, has a extended background as professional artist. For 20 many years, he lived in New York Metropolis. He came to dwell in Mill Valley in 2003 just before settling in Santa Rosa’s Rincon Valley a few many years in the past, and he has ongoing to display his get the job done, most not long ago in an exhibit that opened in Berkeley early final month.

He often has finished both portraits and landscapes, but currently, he’s been targeted on a a lot a lot more certain collection of paintings.

During the statewide shelter-in-position order, Deckert has been using photographs of people who must continue on to get the job done in spite of the coronavirus pandemic — a landscaping crew, EMTs in an ambulance, a PG&E repair service crew, a tree trimming crew, the UPS shipping and delivery driver — and then painting oil portraits of them, ranging in sizing from five by seven inches to 16 by 20 inches.

“I’ll question the people coming to do tree trimming or lawn care,” Deckert reported, “and I’ll solution them to take their image.”

He’s posted the get the job done on the web, at johndeckert.com/pandemic, in which you can see it.

One particular of his topics is mailman Ronald Crawley, who has acknowledged Deckert for quite a few many years.

“I initially achieved John about a few many years in the past as his new mail provider. Just after a few many years, I deduced that he was an artist, and a person working day I requested him thoughts about how he acquired started out. He despatched me e mail photographs of some of his previous get the job done, and I was impressed with his talent,” Crawley reported.

“Then a person working day a few of weeks in the past, he photographed me at his mailbox and informed me he was undertaking paintings of people continue to undertaking their careers during the coronavirus. People feel we’re heroes, or a thing particular, but I am just grateful to continue to be performing, whilst I will be retiring at the conclude of this month,” he added. “I feel his undertaking is really interesting, a thing that will be remembered for a extended time to come.”

Deckert started out with the people who showed up in close proximity to his household. Some of them he already realized. Then he expanded his territory.

“Just nowadays I gained selfies of twelve ER nurses at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital,” he cheerfully declared a person current Sunday afternoon. “So, there is a good deal a lot more get the job done I have to do on this undertaking.”

This is not Deckert’s initially hard work to honor these continue to at get the job done although the rest of us request protection.

“In 2017, just after the wildfires, people were being putting indicators on fences, stating ‘thank you’ to the initially responders,” Deckert reported. “I’m a painter, so my way of stating thanks is to do a painting.”

With that undertaking, Deckert labored from images to paint portraits he then gave to his topics, like Santa Rosa Fire Main Anthony Gossner, as effectively as the commanding officer of the community Countrywide Guard unit, the ranger at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park and the head nurse in the emergency place on the night time change at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, between many others.

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