Portraits and figure drawing have always been an enjoyable part of my painting practice. They constitute a shift away from the flow of conceptual space of my ongoing work in the studio, an interface where I can work in a different and social space, a way to reconnect eye and hand with subject in real time.

Belinda Luscombe – Editor at Large, Time Magazine, oil, oil stick and s’graffito on gessoed panel, 2022
Kirrily and David in Bed – A portrait of Kirrily Nolan and David Downer, oil and s’graffito on gessoed panel, 2022

I look for the asymmetries in an individual and the marks of life, scars, dimples, prominent expressive wrinkles on the face and skin. I am not a photo-realist and do not attempt to put ‘everything’ in or try to achieve a hyper realism. The subjects in my finished work will thus be always seen as through my lens and experience of them. They will be artefacts of my relationship with, and knowledge of the sitter. As a result there may be a familiar overlap with your experience of the subject but perhaps you’ll see something else as well. If you don’t know the sitter you may be ‘meeting them’ through my eyes.

Janet McKimmie
oil on linen 2021
Shortlisted and exhibited, Portia Geach Memorial Prize, SH Ervin Gallery, Sydney.
Photo taken while work in progress. Caleb’s First Archie, oil on canvas, painted at Lennox Street Studios, Newtown, 2021.

Sometimes I’ll start a portrait on impulse such as with the above portrait of Caleb Slater. We were working in adjacent studios and would occasionally talk or have a tea break. Caleb was working on his first portrait entry into the Archibald Prize, he is an undergraduate student at the National Art School and also has a studio in Newtown. We both thought it would be fun to do an ‘inception’ and I would paint a portrait for the Archie of Caleb painting a portrait for the Archie. It was a great fun.

Self Portrait with Jonathan, Eket, Nigeria, oil on canvas 1999
The Convalescent, Eket, Nigeria
Oil on canvas, 1999
Exhibited at Kudos Gallery, College of Fine Arts, UNSW, Sydney.
Sketch of Barry, Darjeeling, 1994
Pen on handmade paper
Sketchbook Portrait of Blake,
Sydney, 1993
Portrait Sketch of Rubins Spaans,
2019, Seelab Studios, Scheveningen
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