A few weeks ago, good friend and fellow artist Kerry Larder and I headed down to Sorrento, took the car across to Queenscliff on the ferry, then headed off to Geelong Gallery – all to be inspired and marvel at Australia’s best artists vying for first prize in the prestigious Archibald Art Prize.

Thinking about my first ever portrait that I painted was of “Jesus”! Yes, the biblical Jesus. Not that I am religious…no, not into dogmas and martyrs telling me how to think and what to believe….however, I am extremely spiritual – and I was asked to paint him, so I did.

Jesus was as good a start as any, to paint my first portrait. At the time I was using pastel, so that’s how he ended up, soft and hazy. Jesus…ended up being blessed by a priest here in Melbourne who claimed it was an uncanny resemblance.

I gave him a nice golden aura which I think was important, shining bright around his head and then another aura around his heart center. I stopped there, one portrait, then I moved on to nudes, landscapes, animals and abstracts thereafter.

I do however respect portrait painters – as long as they don’t end up looking like a photograph, you know the type, a boring sitting or standing position…no creativity on behalf of the artist, just copy what you see.

This year there were certainly a few of those that got through, boring political figures or art critics! However, there are a few satirical, humorous, and well thought about creative portraits there for you to ponder and enjoy.

Art History Lesson

Australia’s favourite annual exhibition, the Archibald prize was first awarded in 1921. The winning artist takes home $100,000 so that certainly helps pay for paints!…and more importantly puts them on a world stage of art royalty.

It’s clearly the most prestigious competition that awards the best portrait of Australian culture. Subjects include celebrities, sporting heroes, authors, artists and politicians. The subject chosen is critical, but the feeling and idea behind the artwork is the most important thing.

And The Archibald Goes to …!

This year the winner was Yvette Coppersmith with “Self portrait after George Lambert” – not exactly blow your socks off!…not even my cup of tea. However, I can appreciate its merits, brush strokes and also appreciate the idea and concept.

Coppersmith is only the 10th female artist to win the Archibald Prize. The art world is certainly dominated by male artists. My old art teacher used to say to us, “try and name 10 great world renowned female artists”….easy to name 10 males but not so easy to name 10 female great artists! Huum.

Congratulations then must go to Yvette Coppersmith for breaking into and smashing such a conservative boys club as the art world. Times are changing.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here