On Friday 20 March, President of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters Tim Benson released this message on his Instagram page encouraging artists to carry on creating during this time.

We would like to share this inspiring message from one of our most popular member artists. 

The full text of Tim’s call to Keep Painting can be found below




A post shared by Tim Benson (@timbensonart) on


When it became evident that the coronavirus was getting serious, and that we might all end up being in lockdown, or unable to carry on with our daily routines, I actually found it really, really depressing. 

And I sort of, I wouldn't say I panicked, but I definitely didn't see a bright future for the next few weeks at least. And I think that that is still the case, and it's going to get worse before it gets better. 

But I tried to, eventually, when the sort of panic subsided, I tried to slightly reframe it and think, “how can I use this as an opportunity?” 

And when I mean opportunity, I mean for art, for painting. It is a rare occasion where actually your hand is forced, and for me, certainly, it means that I can really just concentrate on painting, which really rarely happens. I normally have to balance the painting with various other things: teaching, lectures, etc.

But it really has clarified in my mind what the next few weeks hold. You've got to try to sort of look at the positives. I just think it's a really good opportunity to get some work done. 

I've got absolutely no idea whether that work's going to be any good or not, but it really is just a good opportunity. So for everybody out there who's feeling like they don't know the way forward or able to put one foot in front of the other, I hear that and I completely understand. 

But if you can, as artists, channel that into productivity and getting some work done, then I think that's a really, really good outcome. 

So what I'm saying is, whether you work from home or if you can get into the studio, then just try to get in there and just channel all the misery that's going on into something productive. 

And hopefully, we can come out on the other side and the artistic community can be richer for it. 


Since Friday's post, Tim has been posting a series of works to his social media profiles to keep spirits up.

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Tim Benson is the President of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters and a member of the New English Art Club and Royal Society of Portrait Painters. 

Discover his work in the Royal Society of Portrait Painters Annual Exhibition