Noel Thurgate paints Elisabeth Cummings in Archibald finalist

'Elisabeth Cummings in her studio at Wedderburn, 1974 and 2018' by Noel Thurgate, Picture: AGNSW, Jenni Carter

'Elisabeth Cummings in her studio at Wedderburn, 1974 and 2018' by Noel Thurgate, Picture: AGNSW, Jenni Carter

Celebrated Wedderburn artist Elisabeth Cummings has been featured in a portrait which was named a finalist in the prestigious Archibald Prize.

The Art Gallery of NSW annouced the 58 finalists in the Archibald Prize – Australia’s most revered portrait competition – this morning.

Berrima-based artist Noel Thurgate had entered an oil and mixed media work into the competition, which is now in the running to win the top prize.

His work, ‘Elisabeth Cummings in her studio at Wedderburn, 1974 and 2018’, shows the prolific artist, originally from Brisbane, in her Wedderburn studio.

Ms Cummings is part of the well-regarded Wedderburn Arts Community and has been exhibiting her work since the 1960s.

She has won a host of art awards, including the Camden Art Prize, Fishers Ghost Prize, Fleurier Prize for Landscape, Mosman Art Prize and more.

She has collections featured in numerous Australian art galleries, including the Art Gallery of NSW.

Mr Thurgate said he was inspired to paint Ms Cummings after seeing a photo of her in her Wedderburn studio, dating back to 1974.

“Her expression suggested to me that she was looking into the future,” he told the Art Gallery.

“Although I have known Elisabeth for over 20 years, admired her work and been aware of her role within the influential artists’ enclave at Wedderburn, I hadn’t been to her studio until I began preparatory drawings for this painting.

“Entering the studio, ideas and images immediately tumbled into place.

“The tree in the 1974 photo is the centre post supporting the roof.

“The very fabric of the building – stone, clay and wood – reflects the rich, earthy materiality always evident in Elisabeth’s palette.

“Numerous skylights reveal glimpses of trees and sky, and flood the interior with top-light, while Elisabeth quietly, calmly gets on with it, looking forward to starting the next painting.”

The winning painting will be announced on May 11.

Jimmy (title fight), but Jamie Preisz

Jimmy (title fight), but Jamie Preisz

A portrait of Australian musician and Cold Chisel frontman Jimmy Barnes, created by artist Jamie Preisz, was awarded the $1500 Packing Room Prize.

Last year’s Packing Room Prize was awarded to Peter Smeeth, who painted Campbelltown product Lisa Wilkinson.

The overall winner in 2017 was also connected to the Macarthur area – Camden-born artist Mitch Cairns took the top prize for his painting of his partner, Agatha Gothe-Snape.

The 2018 Archibald Prize will be on exhibition at the Art Gallery of NSW until September 9.

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