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 had begun, 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 it 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 quite happy to consider portrait commissions.
This year I have entered the Brisbane Portrait Prize with a painting of Vince Anello, from the iconic New Farm Deli, our favourite lunchtime indulgence.