Speed Reads

It wasn't all bad

California artist creates custom portraits to show his gratitude to frontline workers

Artist John Deckert has found a way to honor frontline workers, one portrait at a time.

While working from his home in Santa Rosa, California, he started thinking about the essential workers who did not have this same luxury. Deckert got out his paint, brushes, and canvas, and first painted a deliveryman, followed by his mailman and a cashier.

Now, Deckert is focused on painting the nurses at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital. He asked emergency room nurse Sheila Smith for photos of her colleagues, which he uses as inspirations for each one of his portraits. Once he is finished with a painting, Deckert gives it to his subject as a gift. Smith told NBC Bay Area her portrait is "one of my most prized possessions now" and is "a bright light in a really hard season of being a nurse."

Deckert said the portraits are an acknowledgment of the hard work and sacrifice shown by frontline workers, and a way for him to say thanks. "You shared what skill you have," he told NBC Bay Area, "and I shared mine." Catherine Garcia