Finalist, Adelaide Perry Prize for Drawing 2017
It had been several months since I had first sketched in my neighbour Maria’s garden and I found it overtaken by the beans that now covered every frame and trellis. The space was more closed in, rooms of green with a central corridor, and it feels like those beans could take over the house, even the world. We had a harvest moon at this time, and again the garden was transformed by the intensity of the light of a super-moon, drained of colour but with a sharp clarity of detail and shadow.
Charcoal, pastel on Arches paper, 68 x 108cm
Winner People’s Choice Award
JADA ( Jacaranda Acquisitive Drawing Award)
Grafton Regional Gallery, NSW
“Maria’s Garden, From The Back” recently won the Art Spectrum People’s Choice Award and was acquired by the Grafton Regional Gallery. “This detailed drawing won the popularity stakes hands down. Any time you were in the gallery when the 2016 JADA was on display there are visitors standing in front of this drawing of the artist’s neighbour’s garden” Jude McBean, Grafton Regional Gallery Director.
The fourth in this series, “Maria’s Garden, From the Back” is of my neighbour’s garden, with its history of Maria’s long marriage, her love of gardening and Italian post war migration in our inner city suburb of New Farm in Brisbane.
The 2016 Jacaranda Acquisitive Drawing Award has gone to Caboolture Regional Gallery for the first of its eight venue tour. The winner and four acquisitions along with the 41 finalists are set to tour until August 2018. After Caboolture Regional Art Gallery the 2016 JADA goes to University of the Sunshine Coast Gallery followed by Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery, Gympie Regional Gallery, Redland Art Gallery, Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery, Warwick Art Gallery and the New England Regional Art Museum, Armidale.
acrylic on canvas, 60 x 40cm
I started sketching Janet several months ago, me wanting to improve my life drawing skills and she not being so well, enjoying the company and interested in the exercise. We were only a few weeks in when she got her diagnosis. I found my drawing skills deteriorating – actually got worse the more I did. I think sitting and studying each other with that knowledge was just too difficult.
At one point I resorted to sketching her dogs. We did continue on – almost as a joint project, with me showing her compositional sketches, discussing what clothes and jewelry she might wear. I wanted to do the portrait with a more serious look – I guess that was coming through in my sketches.
At that point we turned to photographs and I got this great shot of her smiling. That was the look she wanted and she was correct. It highlighted her eyes, her smile. Two weeks before she passed away and when I was about to starting painting, she asked if I had enough material – she did not think she could manage that smile again. But she did manage that smile many more times, and I would say “Hey Janet, there is that smile!” – and she would smile again.