I first entered the Archibald Portrait Prize in 2008. I have put in an entry every year. I have been unsuccessful. BUT look at the wonderful people I have had the privilege of painting. All of them ( except for my self-portrait) more than amply fulfil the rules of the competition.
Which is more than MANY of the finalist paintings do.
The Peacekeeper: Geoff Hazel (2021)
Acrylics 60 x 90 cm
Geoff was commander of the Australian peacekeepers for the East Timor independence ballot. A Vietnam vet, then police officer, he has done 6 tours as a peacekeeper. I have painted Geoff as I know him: chatting over a cup of coffee to his liking, the book of his memoirs just visible on the table, his past as a rich tapestry behind him. THe Poet; Geoff Page (2020) Acrylics 75 x 100 cms I have tried to capture a particular aspect of Geoff’s personality; the one I most associate with him. It is not aloofness. It is more of a laid-back attitude and the ability to quietly watch what is going on around him without needing to be the centre of attention. His observations of peoples lives and interactions are reflected in his poetry. I have him seated at eye level, ready to converse or listen. Like his personal surroundings, I have kept my portrait uncluttered, almost simple and straight forward. Here To Make a Difference; Julie Tongs (2019) Acrylics 76 x 60 cms Julie Tongs Wirradjiri woman and CEO Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Services. An extraordinary woman, who has achieved amazing advances towards equality of rights for Aboriginal Peoples. The Elections Bloke: Malcolm Mackerras (2018) Acrylics 91 x 61 cm I have known and admired Malcolm for many years. He has been the go-to man for any question of electoral representation and political outcomes. I have painted him with a slightly bolshie attitude which is as I best know him, putting forward a challenge and waiting for the resultant hubbub to settle so he can explain his point. James Kilby, Esq (2017) Acrylics on canvas 91 x 61 cm. James or Jim currently my neighbour. Ex chalky, grazier and publican, he is extremely interested in local Canberra history. Carl Rafferty: The Opera Bloke (2016) Carl Rafferty provides a wonderful service. He collects young and upcoming opera singers and with some young classical musicians, he puts together performances called, Opera by Candlelight. Held at the Albert Hall the singers and musicians get the opportunity to perform in a good-sized auditorium to a live audience. It is a treat for those lucky enough to get to it. The Communicator: Elaine Harris (2015) Acrylics 100 X 74 cm Elaine Harris has worked as a broadcaster for several agencies including the ABC in Canberra and Tasmania. She is also an author. I have painted Elaine in her favourite spot, in her office in front of her keyboard, communicating with the world. Elaine is also blind. The Refugee Advocate; Marion Lé (2014) ‘I have painted Marion as I know her; vivacious, brightly coloured, plenty of jewellery, interested in everything. I have seated her at one end of the couch; there is always room for one more around Marian. Behind her are her clients barred from joining us by red tape. Gail Radford and Georgie (2013) acrylics 92 x 120cm This is a portrait of my friend Gail Radford (and her dog Georgie). it was done in a real hurry – in 1 week between a myriad of other activities. I have tried to convey the natural dignity of Gail. She is quite tiny in stature but has a huge personality. She is sitting on a flag of Australia and of the United Nations, to signify her work with the Australian Government and the UN. Her work is also reflected in the building blocks in front of her, the letters APS (Australian Public Service ) and EEO (Equal Employment Opportunity). Behind her is the symbol for Veterinarians – the centaur, carrying the staff with the single snake signifying healing and the letter V for Vets. Gail is a trained Vet and had a small animal practice for some time and her ongoing interest in animals is repeated with her dog Georgie seated in front of her. Also behind her is the symbol for Justice, the blindfolded woman holding up the Scales of justice with male and female symbols. The scales are weighted in favour of males. Behind Gail and around her are the colours of the Womens’ Movement, purple, green and white, flowing down as the cross of the women’s symbol rolling out in front of her. Gail was the original convenor of WEL ACT in 1972 and has maintained the fight for equality throughout her working and private life. Her work on behalf of women has shadowed her whole life and I have tried to reflect that commitment in the portrait. This beautiful painting was accidentally destroyed. So Much More To do: Dr Colin Groves, Professor of Bio-Anthropology ANU (2012) Acrylic 75 X 100 cm Dr Colin Groves is at the forefront of research into human and primate evolution. The results of his research have been responsible for changing the way we humans view our place in the world. He is currently a Professor of Bio-Anthropology at ANU. I have portrayed Colin as I see him; restless, unable to sit still, chasing the need for more knowledge, aware that there is limited time to do what needs to be done, ageing but still full of his wonderful energy. All around him is the paraphernalia of the teacher and the researcher. I have shown the personal sacrifice and discipline required by his research dedication by presenting Colin with his back to the window and the temptation of an outside world. Almost as though he is sequestered or cloistered – an interesting juxtaposition for an avowed Skeptic. The light from the outside streams over his shoulder to illuminate the products of his research, his latest book, and the causes, a conference on endangered primates. Over his other shoulder in the dark, just able to be glimpsed are some of our primate relatives. They are just there in the shadows – they could so easily be lost. Pussies Galore (self with Barry Fankhauser’s cats) (2011) Acrylics on stretched canvas 90 X 120 cm pussies galore detail pussies galore detail The Journalist: Ken Randall (2010) oils on canvas 92 x 120cm This is a portrait of Ken Randall, a Canberra based journalist. He has contributed to ensuring the balanced reporting of activities and actions in the political capital and Federal Parliament. He is best known for his involvement with the National Press Gallery and is often seen as the Chair of speakers appearing there. The Consummate Juggler: Dominic Mico Comunity Arts Activist (2009) oils on canvas Ann Wentworth (2008) oils on board 90 X 70 cm Ann Wentworth Feminist and women’s rights activist