Early in my career I was very active with portraiture. During my time in the army from 1966 to 1968, before I began painting full time, I completed several portraits of my friends. Once a professional artist I began getting commissions for portraits, but although I really enjoyed the challenge of doing them, they were not my main focus.
In 1988 I entered the inaugural Doug Moran Portrait Prize. I was not included in the 30 finalists, but was awarded a special $1,000 bonus prize that Doug Moran kindly provided for the next 10 artists who narrowly missed out. I entered again in 1992 and I was this time selected as a finalist. In 1991 my pre-occupation with Italy began, and portraits took a back seat.
Living overseas also made me ineligible for the local competitions. I didn't paint any further portraits until recently, when an old army friend asked me if I would paint a current one. I had painted him in 1967, and he wanted a similar portrait, the same size and similar in colour, to be done the same way as before, ie., many drinks beforehand and a relatively speedy sitting. In those intervening 52 years I have become somewhat smarter, so the portrait sitting did not go exactly like that, but it was a very successful exercise, and I enjoyed the process immensely. That has re-kindled my interest, and I am now happy to consider portrait commissions.
In 2020 I entered the Brisbane Portrait Prize with a painting of Vince Anello, from the iconic New Farm Deli, our favourite lunchtime indulgence. Unfortunately it was unsuccessful in winning the prize, and it now has pride of place in the New Farm Deli in Brisbane.
I decided to do a surprise portrait for our granddaughter Charlotte for her 21st Birthday. Being a surprise it had to be done from photos, and considering those obvious limitations, I am very happy with the result.