Portraiture

I haven’t written for ages because I had an ear operation which sent me into a dazey state for quite a while. I did some interesting drawing during the time though and it was fabulous to get back into reading. It’s just about all you can do when you can’t hold your head up. I’ve nearly finished Tim Winton’s ‘Dirt Music’ and have absolutely loved it. His writing is like poetry and puts you right into the vast, beautiful WA scenery.

Anyway, that wasn’t supposed to be the subject of this post. My Mum came back from London last week with a copy of The BP Portraiture Awards catelogue and I have been pouring over it ever since. It got me into looking at other portraiture awards, especially Australian ones, and the fascianting politics that surrounds them. A wonderful blog named ‘The Art Life‘ is wonderful reading on this subject and has some good links to different newspaper articles with varying opinions. I picked out the picture of the Archibald Prize winner this year from a magazine a while ago and put it on my offce wall. I didn’t know it’s significance, I just liked the picture. I was really surprised when I found out its significance though, and having read a bit more about it and others it was up against I’m looking at it in a different light and I’m not even sure I think much of it anymore. As a decorative piece it’s pretty and interesting but the more you look at it the more obscure it seems. As a portrait I think the subjects appear lifeless and still. The skin colour choice and the huge staring eyes remind me of an ugly doll and are comic-bookish….without the dynamic element of a comic. I suppose I just prefer to look at images that are full of life and energy.

This is titled ‘Ying-Ying’ by Jun Chen and is one of the finalists for  The Moran Portraiture Award I just love this loaded painting style. It achieves a lightness in contrasting light and shade and the subject’s features and pose but at the same time the paint is piled on and thickly daubed which gives it so much life. I just think it’s great.

Here are some of my self-portrait sketches from a week in bed with a very sore ear and round of codeine, brufen and panadol. That’s my excuse anyway. It’s been an interesting week, maybe I’ll do something with these one day.

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