Florida artist paints her gratitude with essential worker mini-portraits
Jennifer Lange knew she wanted to do something to thank essential workers toiling during the pandemic. So she turned to her hobby of painting, inspired by a TV news segment on a similar project in New York.
Since July the Tallahassee, Fla., artist has completed 16 mini-portraits of essential workers.
“Mostly medical workers, but also others providing essential services. What they do inspires me. There is not much I can do to make our situation better during the pandemic, but I can paint a mini-portrait,” Lange said via e-mail.
The retired social services administrator worked her contacts to find her subjects, including several workers at Tallahassee Memorial Rehabilitation Center, part of Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare. “I also reached out to friends and family members who sent me pictures of essential workers they knew or encountered,” she said.
Each artwork takes two to three days. She works from photographs to devise the 6-by-6 inch likenesses.
Occupational therapist Tracy Dobson was touched by Lange’s effort. “I felt very special and appreciated that a local artist would take the time to honor healthcare workers the that way she did. As healthcare workers, we take care of others, but we are not always so great at taking care of ourselves, so this was a way of accepting some self-love through a portrait.”
Sheree Porter, director of therapy services at the rehab center, keeps her portrait on her desk. “It’s a daily reminder of the kindness and generosity of our community during this challenging time.”