There is an art prize here in Australia called the Archibald Prize and it is for portrait paintings and is fiercely contested, the winners are always argued over and debated against. Unfortunately my portrait didnt make it into the finalists but it is being hung at an exhibition in Melbourne this week which by the way I am opening. There are about 40 works all Archibald entrants all which didnt make the final cut – 700 entries Australia wide only 40 make it into the final.
paul painting.jpg

63 Responses to “Portrait”

  1. Sarah says:

    Wow, Paul that’s really something. Are you allowed to share the name of the artist?

  2. Paul says:

    The picture was painted by Jacqui Grantford who as you can see by her website is very talented and diverse as well as a really nice lady!
    I met her at a coffee shop and when she told me she was an artist I asked her about designing a phoenix tattoo for me. A couple of months later she asked if I would pose for her for a portrait for the Archibald. It was a great experience as Jacqui was really interested in getting to know me so she could paint the real me and she was also open to my ideas.
    I can tell you I was very nervous when I went to her house to see the finished painting not because I didnt think it would be good but because I was worried she may have painted a ‘me’ that I wasnt so keen on after all she was essentially painting her version of me and would that fit in with my version of me.
    Well it did. I love the painting and I love that she captured that essence of me, a me that I like and a me that is true.
    Andrea and the girls loved it too.

  3. Evelyn says:

    It is a great portrait! very expressive and also multi-faceted and multi-valent (if that makes sense).

  4. GRANDMA MIL says:

    Jacqui has caught the essance of the real you, Paul, and for a moment I thought it was a photograph, but excuse me, what is that THING in the background supposed to represent, or maybe I should just use my imagination…
    Congrats on the opening of the exhibit!
    Shalom and Love,
    Grandma Mil

  5. Evelyn says:

    Of course use your imagination, dearest Grandma, that’s what you are supposed to do with art. For me it’s a dancer in a powerful yet graceful position.
    Went to an art museum yesterday (one of the MANY Munich has to offer) and was quite pleasantly surprised by how many paintings were there that I use in a segment on 15th century German artist in one of my courses. It’s so much more impressive seeing these paintings for real than with images published in the internet of them. I wish we could do a field trip in the fall just to take a look at these paintings–ah wishful thinking! Also got some good pointers on some of these paintings from the person who gave a tour in the museum–loved it! Those are life’s unexpected little gifts!

  6. Liz says:

    The background looked like a uvula, but that may be bec I saw a lot of sore throats this wkend, when I looked again this morning, it is the form of a dancer that is rooted in Paul.
    I like the picture. Like Paul is anchored, solid and deliberate, even charged, but the spirit of dance, dark and formless, hard to capture, it is trying to get away as we look and Paul is connected to it. Paul is the dance.
    Have a great day! G. Mil Wishing you Congrats!

  7. Liz says:

    The background did look like a crevasse and Paul is on the edge of it–I don’t think of Paul as a dancer first, as we have known him in many roles, so it was hard to see the dancer first. What I felt was he always is on the edge, and in whatever form be it a poem, choreography or racing, he creates something that is astonishing.
    The feelings and reactions would be as different as the persons who look at it.
    Thank you for sharing this portrait.

  8. Julie says:

    Its an amazing portrait and it must have been such an honor to do it for that artist.
    all the best for the exhibit,

  9. GRANDMA MIL says:

    Dear Paul, I BEG your forgiveness for not seeing
    the dancer in the background at first!
    Evelyn made me see it; “hidden in plain sight”, as
    the saying goes, plus the fact that I need cataract surgery, and after missing the point completely, I will make an appointment for the surgery PRONTO!
    Yes, it is a tribute to handsome and talented YOU!
    Shalom and Love,
    Grandma Mil

  10. Melody says:

    Paul–awesome portrait!
    At first I saw Paul in the corner, actually thinking it was a photo of him, and then I saw the “shadow” eminating. I immediately saw the figure as a dancer executing a develope’ and it *then* dawned on me that it was a painting.
    Jacqui really did well even down to the detail of your toes.
    Beautifully done!

  11. Paul says:

    Art. Not only does each person see it differently they look at it differently too and then depending on the day they have had, how they feel and what’s on their minds react to it differently. Then on viewing the same work on another day the whole thing happens again. Great isnt it!
    No need to apologise Millie, no one has to love it, like it or hate it. Of course I would prefer if people felt like I do about it but then that is impossible because no one had the experience I did in sitting for it.
    I will refrain at this point in saying what I think that ‘thing’ (lol) in the background is for the moment letting the viewer make up their own minds.

  12. MaryS says:

    I love it! At first I just saw the background as “swirls”, but it only took me about 10 seconds to see the artful portrayal of what I saw as a ballet dancer. I love how the art form merges into the man form. I think it’s so cool!
    I have to hand it to the artist for capturing you so well. I see that serious side of you, but out of your form emerges such an expression of your talent!
    I think it’s wonderful.

  13. Melody says:

    Paul, since you mention sitting for the portrait, did you also create/model the position of the alter ego?
    I also looked at Jacqui’s website and her other paintings–very gifted artist.
    Paul, you chose well!

  14. Sarah says:

    Keeping in mind my internet connection is dial-up, when the image first began to load for me the background was a bit of a mystery. I thought to myself “what on earth?” But after the image of the painting loaded, I immediately saw the shadowy image of a dancer.
    I took some time studying the image since I have a number of friends who are artists, and the detail is truly wonderful. I love how the shadowy image connects with Paul, perhaps giving a hint of his past whereas the color is his current life.
    I certainly can’t imagine what the chosen pieces would look like if this one wasn’t chosen. I am truly in awe – and thank you for Jacqui’s website URL, Paul. :o)

  15. Liz says:

    Thank you for the Jacqui Giford link–she chose a great subject for her photo for the Archibald prize! Did you end up getting the phoenix tattoo that she designed? G. Millie not seeing the dancer at first I think was bec you did not have a preformed idea of what to see, you had an open mind…I do not think it was like Paul said something to apologize for…it just is. I’m still signing up to be the fan of the biggest fan.
    The Permberton Bear on the Jacqui Giford link was very cute and he sings and dances and had a blog too. I need to interact with human friends…

  16. Liz says:

    Looking again at the picture the light and textures look so real–the detail on the face and forearms, the muscles esp look great…it is just beautiful nothing more to add.
    Melody, what is a develope? You said the shadow was doing that.

  17. Melody says:

    Hi Liz–a develope is a movement where the dancer lifts his/her leg through the knee and then extends the foot to “develop” the movement into a long line or extension.
    The initial placement of the knee determines how high the leg will go. The higher the knee, the higher the extension of the leg and foot.
    There is a similar method with arms where the elbow is moved in the direction desired and the rest of the arm follows, again developing the arm movement from the point of the elbow.
    Wishing Paul and all PCs a great weekend! 🙂

  18. Dona says:

    Dear Paul and friends,
    it’s been a very long time since I’ve had the chance to visit. I hope you’re all well and happy. I really like the portrait, but if I may be so bold as to say that I would have loved to have seen a bit more of you, Paul, (perhaps standing) as I feel the ‘shadow’ is depicted as the focal point rather than you. The background ‘image’ overshadows.. no pun, lol, and you have such a strong and contoured jaw, that it’s a shame it’s covered up with your hands. I also see the expression in your eyes, it lacks the warmth, sensuality and soul. It makes you look a tad angry. That’s my humble opinion, I don’t want to offend anyone and it’s a fantastic piece of work, just not the Paul I think I know lol.. (hard to back up with proof as I have never met you.. but you know what I mean).. God Bless and see you all next time.

  19. Liz says:

    What you said made me realize why I keep looking at the foreground and then keep trying to make sense of the shadow. Are you still writing scripts and plays? Welcome back!!!!

  20. Sally C. says:

    At first, I wasn’t going to comment on this, as all I saw was Paul crouching in a corner with an unusual background. I was just content to lurk and read the comments.
    But, upon a closer look, I see this is an optical illusion. Rather than concentrate on the black swirls against a gray background, if you refocus your attention to just the black, you will clearly see the shadow of a dancer, body bowed back with arms over head, one leg up and the other attached to Paul.
    Very interesting…
    Sally C.

  21. PeterH says:

    Unrelated to the very nice portrait, but congratulations on the great interview on today’s interview on the ABC’s Sunday Arts.
    As usual interesting, funny and personable.
    Take care, kind regards,

  22. Liz says:

    Dear PCs, followed the lead from Pete above: Paul was on TV. Yeay! But for the US PCs we can only see the print version due to copyright laws:

  23. Melody says:

    Thanks for that link, Liz. It’s great that you always post these for us.
    I like that sweater, Paul. Hope it’s not too chilly down under!

  24. Rosie says:

    Art really is not only subjective but subject to our own life experiences. Like Melody (and the way my computer downloaded the image) the first thing I saw was the develope’ and I thought, “Wow, I guess I just don’t get impressionism, nice develope’, but Paul needed to “pose” for that!” LMAO
    The other burning question from an old dancer would be – you didn’t actually “sit” for that did you? She worked from a photo right?
    I’m trying to imagine straightening up from that position after a long “sitting” – SCARY! LOL

  25. Melody says:

    Paul, just curious–what are the dimensions of the painting? Is it lifesize?
    Rosie–you make a good point! My back would have cringed in getting up from that pose (Paul’s sitting pose)! LOL

  26. Paul says:

    You are right Rosie, whilst I posed for phot’s the painting was done off the photo that Jacqui liked best.
    The painting is about 6 foot tall by 2 1/2 wide so my image is in fact life size.
    Everyones comments are very interesting and as it should be art is subjective and engenders a range of response in a rang of people.
    For my part I love the painting (of course) and it was my idea to crouch and have my soul, inner dancer, spirit attatched to my foot but outside of my body. It is the connection we all have to out inner being, our artistic self and to the world with out ie around us. I dint want to smile as I have my picture taken so often and everyone says smile – I wanted to present another side of me a more serious side one that perhaps would make people think a lttile differently about me and see me in a different light or way. I love the way there is an aura – the ripples of ones life, of ones energy, the layers of ones experience swirling around me and the spirit dancer – it sets up a vibration that says ‘life’. The truth is that all things are constantly in motion (hopefully moving forward but that is a material want) and it is this motion that makes the world go around.

  27. Melody says:

    Paul–what about the gallery–what’s happening there?

  28. Liz says:

    Yeah, what about the gallery?
    Your picture has a lot of energy and movement because you are still. The crouching position is a position of readiness–you’re about to do something. We have seen you moving, dancing in your works and seeing you still, sitting, in the picture, there is still that energy of aliveness. That’s what draws me to your site– that aliveness. Wishing you and your family a great winter in AUS.

  29. Liz says:

    Hello to the PCs! We are hot here in the NW; how are you there in the Chicago, Meloday? Looking forward to a great 4th of July. G. Mil wishing you a great day and also curious about the outcome of your premiere. Thanks.

  30. Julie says:

    Hello all,
    I just thought I show everyone a gift that was given to my husband and I from our dear neighbor.
    all my best,

  31. Juile says:

    Sorry here is the right link….

  32. Evelyn says:

    Julie, that’s a neat gift!

  33. Melody says:

    Julie, that’s far out. The most exotic plant I ever had was a “dwarf” banana tree. (No, no bananas! Was too small to produce them.)
    I bought it for my long-time boyfriend who loved bananas.
    We were fine until we thought to get married . . . (sigh)
    Hope all PCs are having a good week!

  34. Liz says:

    Thanks for the birth of the coconut picture. Grandma Mil lives in Coconut Creek. No exotic plants here; we have ferns/firs/grapes/stone fruit–cherries, peaches. No dwarf bananas, but have dwarf horses and llamas in nearby farms. Happy 4th of July!

  35. Evelyn says:

    I only have dwarf medieval hand writing to offer on the dwarf topic 🙂 Man this is a super long text, I have already typed over 200 pages in 3 1/2 weeks. It better be worth it in the end!
    I’m going to go gift shopping now. Wish me luck that I find good gift stores in Munich. I know they exist, just don’t know where!

  36. Melody says:

    Evelyn–over 200 pages!
    Hope shopping’s great–always fun to shop in the little stores in other countries. Far different from the mega stores and malls we have here. Thankfully, we still have some good areas in Chicago for smaller shops and boutiques remaining, but have lost some wonderful stores to mega/big box shopping, sad to say.
    For those PCs in the US, a Happy 4th!

  37. Julie says:

    I was on NYT this morning and I wanted to share the link featuring this beautiful home in the Australian wine country….

  38. Marian says:

    I love the picture!! At first I didn’t see the dancer as I was too focused on the shape of the light parts,trying to figure out their meaning, and missed the dark parts altogether. After reading the comments, I went back and studied it again. And again I say, I love the picture!

  39. Melody says:

    Julie, that was a great share! What a lovely home.
    Happy 4th, US PCs and a great weekend to Paul, Cat and PC friends!
    (BTW, Where is Cat these days??) 🙂

  40. Liz says:

    Cat is looking green with her hair dyed green..go to frytopia. Cat has a great site that leads to an infinite no of sites. We live in the same city but have not managed to see each other …yet. I would so love to meet Cat in person, but for now you can see her at her latest in frytopia…

  41. Melody says:

    Liz–I just checked Cat out–I keep forgetting Cat’s own website has a link from PC!
    Too wild, Cat! LOL Had I tried that, it probably would have turned out bright purple!

  42. Sarah says:

    Melody, purple might not be a bad color for you. ;o)
    I haven’t been around much due to a very unexpected change in my life. Last Tuesday (July 1st), my father died of what we believe to be a massive heart attack. As his only child, I am the next of kin and responsible for the funeral arrangements. We laid him to rest yesterday, and now I have the daunting task of settling his estate. I’m doing much better than I expected myself to be doing, and I’m taking things one day at a time.
    I hope everyone else here at PC is doing well. I will check in from time to time as I am able.

  43. Liz says:

    Sarah, sorry to hear about your father. I remember that he was visiting you after you fixed your house when the tree damaged it. It looks like you have had a lot to take care of being the only child. I have been wondering what happened to the PCs as the site has been quiet, but now I know. Will be praying for you and your loved ones.

  44. Evelyn says:

    Dear Sarah,
    my deepest and sincerest condolences to you. You will find that you are given the strength you need for each day and its tasks-that was my experience when my Dad passed away. You will get through this, take it one step at a time and accept the help offered to you.
    May you have wonderful memories of your father and may they be a source of strength for you, now and forever!

  45. GRANDMA MIL says:

    Dear Sarah,
    Ellie and I send our sincere sympathy on the loss of your father.
    Shalom and love,
    Grandma Mil

  46. Julie says:

    I’m sorry to hear about your father.
    all my best,

  47. Melody says:

    Very sorry to hear about your father’s passing.
    Besides our fondness of Paul, SB and PC, we share losing our fathers on July 1 (mine was on 7/01/82) and also for the same reason, heart attack.
    I send my thoughts out to you.
    Take special care.

  48. Rosie says:

    Dearest Sarah,
    My thoughts are with you and your family in this time of grief. Words fail. One day at a time, and someday the fond memories will outweigh the painful ones.
    Melody/Sarah to file under “what are the chances?” We’ve all met, you both lost your fathers on July 1st, which is also the date that my son died (7/1/1993).
    Big (((HUGS))) to both of you – it’s a sisterhood that we don’t need anymore members of.

  49. MaryS says:

    Dear Sarah,
    So sorry for your loss. It is such a passage to lose a loved one. I lost my father last year. My sister was such a family hero in taking care of him in his final few years.
    The cycle of life bestows it’s experience upon us, whether we are ready or not. Our heart tries to wrap itself around it. It takes time to absorb. I hope that with time you allow yourself to feel your father’s presence in your life, thus far, and moving forward.
    As always, we are here for each other. It’s so amazing.
    God bless you and keep you.

  50. Liz says:

    Dear Sarah, I know this is a difficult time for you but wanted to let you know you are in my thoughts and prayers. We at the PCs are thinking of you. Liz.

  51. Melody says:

    Rosie–I don’t recall if you mentioned about your son while we were in Alexandria back in June. It is amazing how things continue to show we’re never alone.
    Again, Sarah, all the best to you and your family at this time.
    ((Hug)) to Paul and all PCs!

  52. Paul says:

    Sarah, I am deeply sorry to hear of your loss. It sounds like you are coping well and I hope you continue to but as we all do you will have your ups and downs – it’s all unavoidable really isnt it? I know you know, but I will say it anyway, I and everyone here are sending you love and hugs for all the ups and downs ahead, may you remember clearly the good times and find peace and joy in those.

  53. Evelyn says:

    The ups and downs of life can be very exhausting, but the memories of good times as well as the good times themselves provide the strength to ride them out.
    Peace and joy are sometimes really hard to come by. It’s been a struggle for me in the last few months and still is, and I’ve hit rock bottom so many times, it’s kind of pathetic, but part of my process right now (apparently). But I’ve also felt deep joy and real happiness for the first time in months during these past 2 weeks–now if it would just root itself more firmly in me, that would be awesome, but it will and I’m looking forward to it. Healing is exhausting, but also good. Sarah, do give yourself lots of time to rest-you will need it!

  54. Paul says:

    Joy and Happiness seem to be fleeting moments much like the sun peeking out from rain clouds – although that could be just me at the moment. The constant is challenge and perhaps the challenge is to allow joy and happiness into our lives at every moment possible. I dont think they are things that you can hold onto – much like the handful of sand – they are to be savoured when they are around, missed when they are gone and searched for at all other times. It is a constant challenge.

  55. Evelyn says:

    very true, Paul! for me at times it’s also about choosing to let joy and happiness in and not to let the negative thoughts or the sadness overwhelm or dominate and yes, that’s a real challenge.

  56. Evelyn says:

    Ps.: Be well and enjoy the sunshine of life when it shines upon you, Paul and may it do so often!

  57. Melody says:

    Well said, Paul (and Evelyn)!
    May we never forget to embrace our joy and happiness, cherishing those times (and people) that bring them in our hearts.

  58. Sarah says:

    Everyone, thank you for all your kind words. I returned to VA this past Friday. My mom and her housemate, Fred, drove me back up from FL. They are now safely back home in FL, and I get to begin the task of sorting through papers, calling insurance companies, changing/closing bank accounts… *sigh*
    I have actually been doing very well so far. I made it through the funeral far better than I expected, including giving the eulogy. But I know that is because I was drawing strength from my dad. I know he is still with me even though I can’t see him or hug him. I am taking each day as it comes, and I have taken a personal leave of absence from work.
    Some of you may have heard me speak of my dad before and may have known he was a registered nurse (RN). Sadly many in the medical field are the worse at taking care of themselves, and my father was no exception. I am not trying to preach, but please if your doctor/medical practitioner tells you to see a specialist (such as a cardiologist), please do it! My dad didn’t, and now he’s gone. Also, be open with your loved-ones about how you feel and the things you are thinking. And lastly, always tell those dear to you that you love them. It could be the last time.
    Melody and Rosie, I wasn’t aware this was one other thing we shared. I agree, no one else in this club. Membership is closed.
    However, if someone would like to join the “ongoing sinus infection” club with me, I’d love to have company. LOL Now I am off to bed. It is way past my bedtime.

  59. MaryS says:

    Glad you’re back home Sarah. Pace yourself!
    Tomorrow will be the last day of 5 days in the hospital for my sister who is being brave enough to take a cancer treatment that most would cower from. I think I would not be brave enough. She is getting daily treatments of interluken, which in itself, can kill you. She’s been doing very well, but today it begins to take a toll. Last we spoke, she was on 11 of 14 treatments. She’s almost done. She only began to feel the affects of it yesterday. Today was much stronger side affects. Please pray for her. She has a daughter going into her second year of college and a son still in high school. Her husband is with her as much as possible and has spent the night there with her. This is our family’s first experience with cancer. We’ve never even personally known anyone with cancer, let alone, a family member. We’ve been very lucky until now. My sister is the strongest healthiest one in our family!! I swear, it makes no sense at all. We are not to know the rhyme or reason.
    It’s been a stressful week and I got a major migraine from it yesterday. Nothing in comparison to what my sister is enduring.
    Love and kindness to all of you!

  60. Sarah says:

    Mary, of course your sister and family are in my thoughts and prayers. Having lost two family members to cancer I know how horrible a disease it is. I’m pulling for her!

  61. Evelyn says:

    Both of you, Sarah and MaryS, (actually you families as well) are n=in my thoughts and prayers for strength, support and comfort!

  62. GRANDMA MIL says:

    Dear MaryS,
    Please send your sister’s first name to me, and I will have Ellie say a special prayer for her in synagogue on Saturdays.
    Her name will join our daughter Leah’s name.
    Frank, Melody’s brother, is off the list, for he has recovered, which proves prayers have power.
    I know exactly what you feel when you say “no rhyme or reason”. That goes along with the “why?” which haunts me also.
    Shalom and love,
    Grandma Mil

  63. Melody says:

    Sarah–sending you strength while you deal with the “after” work of losing a loved one and hopefully you won’t have the sinus infection hampering your way. Glad that everyone is back home safe and sound.
    MaryS, my good thoughts to your sister and your whole family. May she be well soon.
    Grandma Mil, you’re very right about the power of prayer. We are still grateful it wasn’t any worse for Frank. He still has a sore shoulder, but thankfully it’s the worse of it! I hope Leah continues to remain well.
    Good weekend to all!