'Hold still while I ink your portrait for Captain Tom challenge'

Artist Debora's self portrait and one of her rescue dog Mavis

Artist Deborah's self portrait and one of her rescue dog Mavis - Credit: Deborah Mason

Artist Deborah Mason needs help to complete 100 portraits in 50 hours for the Captain Tom 100 challenge. 

She wants subjects to sit for portraits to raise money for Bethnal Green's Magic Me inter-generation arts charity. 

“Sponsorship is welcome but what Deborah really needs right now is willing subjects,” the charity’s Deborah Mason told the East London Advertiser. “People can ‘sit’ in person via Zoom or even go to her front garden in Maidenhead.” 

Sittings take 20-30 minutes — or people can send family snaps and Deborah will draw a portrait from the photo.  

But creating a “Gainsborough in oils” isn’t possible in the time, she admits, so it's pen-and-ink like her self-portrait and the piece of her dog. 

Deborah's late grandpa Albert Bennett... served in Royal Navy in First World War, died 1970s.

Deborah's late grandpa Albert Bennett... served in Royal Navy in First World War, died 1970s. - Credit: Deborah Mason

In-person sitters can book a slot on Deborah’s website or email a snapshot to hashtagcollage@gmail.com by 6pm on May 2.  


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The 58-year-old artist will post the results during the Captain Tom weekend from April 30 to May 3 to see if she makes 100 portraits in 50 hours. April 30 would have been Captain Tom’s 101st birthday. 

The Late Capt Tom Moore... knighted at 100 for raising £40m for 'NHS heroes' 

The Late Capt Tom Moore... knighted at 100 for raising £40m for 'NHS heroes' - Credit: Capt Tom Foundation

Wellwishers can donate at https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/DeborahMason7, but portrait subjects do not have to be a sponsor and sponsors do not have to have a portrait done. 

Deborah has chosen Magic Me because she works for the charity two days a week and it brings generations together with creative arts projects in deprived areas of the East End.   

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She splits the other days between gardening, art and looking after her 95-year-old mum who is just five years short of the age Captain Tom Moore was when he hit the headlines with his sponsored 100-lap walk around his garden to thank NHS workers in April last year, which went viral and raised £40 million. 

Magic Me's At Home Together programme has reached 350 isolated people in the East End during lockdown, as well as those in sheltered housing and care homes, while keeping schools and pensioners connected through online activities. 

Meanwhile, artist Deborah has been working on pieces reflecting the pandemic – a mask embroidered with John Donne’s No Man is an Island and a crinoline embroidered with passages from Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year.

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