Portraiture's Prospects

Various Portraits

Stuart Purves, 2016, oil on canvas 120cm x 180cm

I am not noted for my portraits. The reader might argue, well, why would he be? They are not noteworthy, and yet, I find myself not stubborn, but inspired to persist. There is so much work to be done.

The Archibald, is noted for its circus-like nature, for its enslavement to cult and notoriety. I take it as a forum for research, to establish that the twentieth century was not a failed experiment, as the trustees of the gallery imagine it to have been.

I have been selected twice, as a finalist, once in 2001 and again in 2002, with portraits of Stephen Mori (2001) and of Ron Robertson Swann and Paul Hopmeir (2002).

Stephen Mori, 2001, 80cm x 400cm, oil and enamel on plywood

I have entered but not been selected on many occasions. My first portrait was a self-portrait, done in 1973, which I have been striving to emulate in terms of what I perceive to possess that 'something', worth pursuing.

Self Portrait, 1973, pastel and collage on paper, 90cm x 60cm

I painted Sue Cato last year twice. The first, sees Sue Cato in her life, what I perceived to be her life, surrounded by people, ideas, home renovation and her dogs and cats, larger than life as a painting, but setting her contained within it, modestly, scaled, settled, happy.

Cato Uno, 2016, oil on canvas, 200cm x 300cm

The second painting of Sue was quite different in scale and approach. I shall submit this second portrait this year.

Cato Uno was mostly black and grey. Cato Due

has no colour at all and dispenses with the need for a second eye or an unsustainable scale. She is singularly focused, measured, solid, loving.

Cato Due, 2016