Portrait of Graeme
I asked my Uncle Graeme to pose for this portrait some time ago and got the chance when my lovely Aunt dropped him off so she could go shopping in peace. I grabbed my sketchbook and made him sit quietly and still (no easy task) then he promptly fell asleep. He typically has a very animated face and I wanted to capture some of this in in the portrait. Fortunately my daughter turned up in time to wake him and be a target for his relentless stirring and I was able to get the expression I wanted.
I worked on the painting from sketches, photos, memory and unsolicited advice of other relatives. I painted him leaning forward, head angled as if he had just paused work for long enough to give the viewer some pithy and funny broadside. I initially concentrated on his eyes and mouth as it was important to get these right to capture his disarming sense of humour. Yesterday he dropped past the studio, allowing me to do some final adjustments while he provided me with his views on the painting, my character and modern day Australia. All for free.
Graeme is a farmer from his Blundstones to his battered felt hat. He is generous, gregarious, irascible and irreverent. He is an original and relentlessly funny man with an endless stream of stories (all true of course). I admire his tenacity and humour, but mostly I am grateful that he taught us the life skills our mother forgot: swearing, shooting and shearing.