NEWS/BLOG

2016 Archibald Salon des Refusés

My portrait of Jean Kittson has been selected as a finalist in this year’s Salon des Refusés which runs from 16/07/16 till 18/9/16.       “You’re still hot to me” :   A Portrait of Jean Kittson Patrick Cook Cartoon Artist Statement Jean Kittson is an Australian Comedian, Actor, Author, Radio/TV Performer and Multi-Media Scriptwriter. She is an experienced MC, keynote speaker, panelist, debater and facilitator of conferences & award nights. Jean’s latest book, titled “You’re Still Hot To Me: The Joys of Menopause” is illustrated with cartoons by her husband, Cartoonist & Satirist, Patrick Cook. One of these cartoons was the inspiration for this painting and the aim was to bring that particular cartoon to life. Whereas Cartoons can be seen as deconstruction distillations, this work could be described as a Reconstruction Painting and, if you like “Isms”, an example of Reconstructivist Art ”. Patrick often represents himself as...
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The Artist’s Fate 2 – The Recovery

  This painting began its life as a sequel to “The Artist’s Fate” *which won the 2011 Sir John Sulman Prize at the Art gallery of NSW. The judge that year was Richard Bell an Activist Artist from Queensland who told the press that he picked the winner by the toss of a coin and even posted a video on YouTube showing the process. I was a bit pissed off when I found out because I believed that the win would never be regarded as worthy and I felt that I needed to reaffirm the legitimacy of the subject and my credibility as an artist both to fellow artists and to the general public. Initially, I was going to show just the physical recovery from the depicted amputations and disembowelment, but then, I thought the psychological recovery would play an even bigger part in the apparent return to normality. Sigmund...
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2015 Doug Moran National Portrait Prize

This year I have 3 portraits chosen as semifinalists in the Moran Prize.   1. Little Miss No       The subject of this painting is our granddaughter Miah who, having just turned 3, is still in that first stage of independence where every question is answered in the negative and where reverse psychology works like a charm. Some children have a more pronounced independent and contrary nature than others and Miah is certainly one of the former. Surprisingly though, she was quite willing to pose for this painting for limited spells ….. possibly because she knew she was in charge.           2. The Handyman – a portrait of Tony McWilliam. This is my 6th painting of Tony, 4 of which have been selected in national portrait competitions and the other 2 exhibited at The Royal Art Society of NSW and the Australian Watercolour Institute. Tony is a stonemason, landscape gardener...
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PORTRAIT EXHIBITION

Gosford Regional Gallery has honoured me with a Retrospective Exhibition of 37 portraits. This is a most generous and brave move on their part as I don’t know of any regional gallery hosting a solo artist portrait exhibition … this is possibly a first. The exhibition includes portraits of Clover Moore, Phillip Adams, Peter FitzSimons, Yvonne Kenny,  David Handley, Richard Glover, Simon Marnie as well as the “Singing Portrait” of Amelia Farrugia and my self Portrait “The Artist’s Fate” which won the 2011 Sulman Prize by the  judge tossing a coin. The exhibition opens 2pm July 18 and runs until September 6, 2015. Gosford Regional Gallery  36 Webb St., East Gosford   Phone 4304 7550  

2014 Shirley Hannan National Portrait Award

More good news ………. the Trompe l’oeil painting of my grandson, Caelan as “Bob the Builder” has been selected as a finalist in the 2014 Shirley Hannan National Portrait Award, a biennial event held in Bega near the southern coast of NSW. This award is for realistic portraiture and the entry is judged on a photograph of the painting compared with a photograph of the subject to ensure that the likeness is true. This is a prize for dedicated portrait painters and is keenly contested by most of Australia’s best portrait artists because of the standard of competition and the $50,000 prizemoney. The prize was initiated by Shirley Hannan, who was a first class artist and portrait painter, to encourage the ongoing survival of excellence in portrait painting.  Since her death in 2005 the prize has continued to be sponsored by the generous support of her husband and family. This is the sixth time I have entered...
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2014 Benalla Nude Art Prize

This is  a new art prize instigated by Artist, Ivan Durrant, and supported by the friends of  the Benalla Art Gallery and the citizens of Benalla in country Victoria. The works must contain a depiction of an adult nude body and the artists are free to interpret this in any way they like and I am sure there will be numerous and fascinating variations and it is hoped that the exhibition which runs from 11th April to 13th July will attract great attention and further enhance Benalla’s position on the tourist map and help the careers of a few artists. The prize money for the winner is $50,000. I am delighted to announce that my painting of Tony McWilliam titled “Wash after Work” has been selected as a finalist in this, the inaugural Benalla Nude Art Prize. Tony is a Landscape Gardener, Stone Sculptor and part time model for my...
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2014 Adelaide Perry Prize for Drawing

My drawing titled “Study for ‘The Contemplation of Life” has been selected for the 2014 Adelaide Perry Prize for Drawing which will be on exhibition at The Croydon Centre for the Arts at PLC  Croydon until March 31. 45 works  from over 400 entries Australia-wide were selected by the Judge , the well known ex-director of the AGNSW and ‘Art of Australia’ TV Series Presenter, Edmund Capon AO, OBE. This pastel is one of a number of studies done in preparation for a larger oil painting titled “The Contemplation of Life”. The skull represents the ephemeral nature of life and the inescapable fact that we all die. The rope has long been a symbol of the bonds of life such as family ties, friendships and work but also a symbol of bondage & servitude and also capital punishment & suicide. The completed painting will show more pelvic anatomy to represent the...
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2013 Inglis Equine Art Prize

My Painting of Redoute’s Choice has been selected as a finalist in this year’s Inglis Equine Art Prize on exhibition at the Inglis Newmarket Stables on 14th August. The champion stallion is one of Australia’s all time great sires with 22 Group One winners in his progeny. His home is the Arrowfield Stud in the Upper Hunter Valley and he has just returned from the Northern Hemisphere Stud Season in France leaving 87 mares in foal.

Simon Marnie Portrait in 2013 Archibald Salon des Refusés

My portrait of Simon Marnie titled The Fine Food Judge has been selected in the the Alternative exhibition to the Archibald Prize – The Salon des Refusés at the S H Ervin Gallery, The Rocks. Simon is a Radio Presenter who hosts “Weekends” on  ABC Sydney 702. He is also a Gourmet, a Fine Food Judge for the Royal Agricultural Society and is a popular speaker/MC. He is a great supporter of high quality, eco friendly locally grown produce and the farmers and providores who are responsible for it. In his earlier life Simon was a magician which is much like being a visual artist in that they both use illusion to gain their effect. The painting contains a QR code on the label hanging from the duck and the viewer can scan this with a QR Reader App on a smart phone and be directed to a YouTube video...
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Adelaide Perry Drawing Prize 2013

This pastel drawing of my daughter Alexandra and granddaughter Miah was selected as a finalist in the 2013 Adelaide Perry Drawing Prize held at PLC Sydney. This prize is now Australia’s richest annual drawing prize since the    Dobell Prize for drawing was changed to a biennial event. The work was executed with pastel on a 120x90cm canvas that was prepared using grey acrylic paint with pumice dust added.  

2012 Inglis Equine Art Prize

My painting of Black Caviar titled “Simply the Best” has been selected as a finalist for the 2012 Inglis Equine Art prize where the theme this year is “At the Track”. The work, featuring Australia’s favourite racehorse was composed using multiple photographic images   because of the near impossibility of painting a galloping horse from life. It was completed just prior to the champion’s win in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot on 23rd June where she won her 22nd race from 22 starts. The Inglis Equine Art Prize is international and the exhibition of finalists features works by artists from New Zealand, Germany, Canada and the US as well as all over Australia. Another of my horse paintings “Trimming the Weanling” was a finalist in last year’s Inglis Prize.

2012 Shirley Hannan National Portrait Award

This prize for realistic portraiture is a biennial  event with a purse of $50,000 for the winner and attracts the best portrait painters from all over Australia. Selection is by Photograph of the painting which is also compared with a photo of the subject to ensure that there is a good likeness. This portrait of my daughter in law Veronica with her children Annabelle and Caelan (our grandchildren) was selected as a finalist in this year’s competition. I have placed the subjects on a railway platform to add a touch of mystery to the work and I leave it to the viewer to invent their own narrative. I have made the three subjects all stare directly at the viewer in an attempt to make the viewer feel that perhaps he/she is the one being looked at, not the other way round.    

Portrait of Richard Glover in 2012 Salon des Refusés

This portrait of Richard Glover ABC Radio 702 Drive Presenter missed  selection in this year’s Archibald Prize but was selected in the Archibald Salon des Refusés on show at the   S H Ervin Gallery from 1st April until 20th May 2012. As well as a broadcaster, Richard is a journalist with a weekly column in The Sydney Morning Herald and he is also a writer with 12 published titles to his credit. The painting shows Richard at his coffee table surrounded by some of the important things in his life – his notebooks,a microphone, a teacup, a book by one of his favourite writers and an Elvis LP.The words in the background detail his occupation, events in his life, many of the books he has written and mentions his partner Debra whom he calls Jocasta in his writings. I felt it appropriate to have words in a painting of a person who is a lover of...
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Portrait Commission

Professor Gordon Parker AO Professor Parker is one of Australia’s most highly respected Psychiatrists and is the Founder/Director of the black  Dog Institute , associated with the University of NSW,  that conducts research into and treatment of Depression, Bipolar and Mood Disorders. The portrait was commissioned by the Black Dog Institute through a generous donation by Mr Albert Hunt & family. My next commission is a retrospective double portrait where one of the pair died 9 years ago so the subjects will be portrayed as they would have appeared 11 years ago. This a good challenge for a portrait painter and I am looking forward to it but I know it will present quite a few difficulties and will mess with my mind …… I may need to consult Professor Parker before it is finished.  

WINNER of 2011 Sulman Prize

“The Artist’s Fate” was announced as the winner of the Sulman Prize at the Art Gallery of NSW on 15/04/2011. The Archibald Prize and the Wynne Prize are judged by the trustees of the Art Gallery of NSW and the Sulman Prize by an independent judge and this year it was Queensland artist Richard Bell. There were 633 entries in this year’s Sulman Prize and and with that number and the high  quality of the finalists you have to be very lucky to win and I consider myself extremely fortunate. I hope the publicity generated by this prize will increase the interest in my work generally but  I suspect it won’t do much for my portrait commissions.

2011 Sulman Prize

“The Artists Fate”, a painting in my nightmare series has been selected as a finalist in the Sulman Prize (subject/genre paintings & murals) which along with the Wynne Prize (Landscape and Sculpture) is showing with The Archibald Prize (Portraits) at the Art Gallery of NSW. This painting could be about the artist’s death or it could simply be a “literal translation in paint” of how an artist feels when rejected by, judges in an art prize, a client, a dealer or a gallery. Of course almost everyone suffers from some form of rejection at various stages in their life and most are much more significant than a self absorbed artist’s feelings of disappointment. For example, the end of a relationship or termination of employment can generate massive feelings of rejection and this painting endeavours to show the pain of this emotion in pictorial form rather than in words. Rejection feels like:    it has...
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Mary MacKillop Icon

This Icon of Saint Mary of the Cross MacKillop was created to celebrate the canonisation of Australia’s first Catholic Saint. Mary, with Father Woods, founded the Josephite Order of Nuns dedicated to educating all children regardless of their social class, colour or financial situation and to provide spiritual and practical help for the poor and needy. If this image meets with general approval, a limited edition print will be produced. This Icon, Our Lady of Vladimir Icon and my Evolutionary Trinity Icon can be viewed in the Figurative  Gallery on this website.

Winner of Mortimore Prize 2010

My painting of “Nelson Salesi protecting his Artworks” was awarded the Unpacker’s Prize at this years Mortimore Prize and fortunately, unlike the Packer’s Prize at the Archibald, it was not the kiss of death and the painting went on to win the overall Best in Show. The Mortimore is a competition for realist artworks in seven categories …..drawing, portrait, landscape, waterscape, still life, small works and sculpture. It is now considered one of the major art prizes in the Australian Art Calendar and with total prizemoney  of $40,000 it is attracting many of Australia’s best artists and I regard myself as extremely lucky to win in such a strong field.

Shirley Hannan National Portrait Award

A portrait of our daughter Alexandra won the Mailroom Prize                                 and the People’s Choice Prize in the 2010 Shirley Hannan National Portrait Award. The conditions of the prize state that the portrait must be a true, realistic representation of the subject and entry is by a photograph of the painting plus a photograph of the subject for comparison. The award attracts many of Australia’s top professional portrait painters and this year there were two Archibald winners and 10 multi- Archibald and Doug Moran finalists  in the 34 artists selected. Alexandra 2010            Oil on canvas   100x75cm

Archibald 2010

My portrait of Peter FitzSimons, Author, Ex-Wallaby, Sports Journalist and Broadcaster has been selected as a finalist in the 2010 Archibald Prize along with 33 others in a field of 849 entries. The painting shows the Author seated in his front garden with his dog Burkey. My aim was to convey Fitzy’s mass ( he is 2 metres tall and solidly built), to capture the “don’t mess with me look in his eyes” and to also display his gentler side by including his dog.

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