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PICTURES: Inverness artist paints portraits of NHS staff to say thanks during coronavirus pandemic


By Ian Duncan

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Artist Ian Whyte who is painting portraits of NHS workers.
Picture: Gary Anthony
Artist Ian Whyte who is painting portraits of NHS workers. Picture: Gary Anthony

An Inverness artist has been producing paintings of health workers as part of the Portraits for NHS Heroes initiative.

The project aims to thank staff for their hard work during the coronavirus crisis.

Ian Whyte had previously worked at Raigmore Hospital as an eye surgeon between 1994 and his retirement in 2017.

Hannah is an anaesthetist working in Manchester.
Hannah is an anaesthetist working in Manchester.

When the 63-year-old left work he decided to try his hand at something completely different, so pursued his lifelong interest in art more seriously.

Usually the self-taught artist is based at the Inverness Creative Academy but, since the Covid-19 lockdown, his kitchen has become his temporary studio.

Joanna is a nurse working in Inverness.
Joanna is a nurse working in Inverness.

He said he heard about the project when he saw an interview on the TV news.

“They set up this initiative on Instagram – it was set up as a thank you for the NHS workers,” he said. “Anyone who is on Instagram can ask for a free portrait.”

Used in HN: Tony is a surgeon working in Newcastle.
Used in HN: Tony is a surgeon working in Newcastle.

Mr Whyte said so far he had received requests from doctors and nurses across the UK.

“It’s a way for me to say thank you for all their hard work – the feedback I’ve had has been tremendous and it has lifted their spirits,” he added.

Used in HN: Yvonne is a nurse working in the Covid-19 testing unit in Fife.
Used in HN: Yvonne is a nurse working in the Covid-19 testing unit in Fife.

The portraits can either can be of the subjects in their NHS scrubs or away from work and Mr Whyte said: “A lot of them have face masks on and PPE.”

Lewis is an ICU doctor from Southampton.
Lewis is an ICU doctor from Southampton.

He said he was also using NHS colours in the paintings, which include a lot of blue, and he can usually complete one of his sketch portraits within a day.


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