The Chaos Around Front Line People

Submitted by: Geoff Beattie

The Art of Covid - Selfie at work Geoff Beattie
Geoff Beattie

“I feel this style of work reflects the chaos and mess that’s going on around the subjects through all this, while the eyes remain clear, giving a glimpse into the person in the centre of it all”

I work in adult social care in Ulverston and am also a self-employed freelance photographer and digital artist.

The day before the lockdown was announced, I was camping up the lakes. I’d hiked up Loughrigg fell to photograph the sunrise. Although this was my first camping trip of the year, I would often head up the lakes whenever I could for a short hike and my landscape photography fix.

Once the lockdown started, I realised that had been my last trip out for a few weeks at least. Fortunately, one of my rolls in adult social care was not affected as I work in supported living, however, my other role in Ulverston Day service had come to an end.

Being quite a creative person who likes to get out and about, with more time on my hands than usual, and not able to go out, I turned to my computer. I’ve used various programs over the years for processing and editing my photographs, and creating artwork.

One of the most popular techniques I do with photographs is to give them the appearance of a watercolour painting through various filters and brushes. I’ve done quite a number of these in the past as commissions and also of my more general photography.

While on Facebook, a friend commented on one of the pictures I’d recently done and suggested I take a look at what another artist, Tom Croft, was doing on Instagram.

Tom had started to paint NSH worker’s portraits for them, for free, as a little “thank you” and used #portraitsfornhsheroes to tag the images with. This quickly started to be taken up by other artists, all offering to make a portrait for front line workers. So I joined in with my digital watercolour style. Within a day or so I had a handful of requests from local people, so I did those and shared them on Instagram and Facebook. They soon got noticed by people up and down the country and more requests came in..

Once I’ve done the digital work and sent it to them, and I make them an A4 and post it to them if requested, all for free, in part, this is possible to the kind donations of fine art paper from both Marrutt & Hahnemühle paper manufactures and individuals too.

The response and messages I’ve received have been incredible, it’s so rewarding to be able to have such a positive, moral boosting effect in people’s lives just by doing the thing I love.

You can learn more about Geoff’s work at: