Lennox Head artist Angus McDonald is a finalist in the Archibald Prize for the third time.
Lennox Head artist Angus McDonald is a finalist in the Archibald Prize for the third time.

Artist hoping for luck

ARTIST Angus McDonald will be hoping it's third time lucky when the Archibald Prize is judged at the end of this month.

The Lennox Head resident has just been announced as a finalist in Australia's most extraordinary art event.

In 2009 he also made the finalists' list with a portrait of artist Zoe MacDonell and last year he did it again with one of Dr Ann Lewis, regarded as one of Australia's most important private collectors and benefactors of Australian art.

This year Mr McDonald, whose work is represented by galleries in Australia, Tokyo and London, submitted a portrait of the well-known painter Tim Maguire.

It is about to be hung with work from artists including Adam Cullen, Garry Shead, Ben Quilty, Tim Storrier and Wendy Sharpe.

"I like to paint people I've met and admired," said Mr McDonald. "Tim and I have mutual friends in London and I asked him if he'd sit for me.

"A portrait is not about the likeness. It's about conveying a sense of the person; the essence of their character in a moment in time."

It's not about winning either, said Mr McDonald, although he admitted the $75,000 prize would be nice.

"But you don't want to get caught up in it," he said "You don't know what the judges are thinking; it's a bit of a circus.

"For me, the whole thing is just fun; a chance to hang out with other artists."

Considering Mr McDonald, 50, was already 31 when he picked up a paintbrush, his rise to become one of Australia's most-collected contemporary artists is even more impressive.

Since training at the prestigious Julian Ashton Art School in Sydney he has lived and worked in Greece and Italy and been invited to be an expedition painter by the Mawson's Hut Foundation, spending a month in Antarctica.

Mr McDonald, who is well known for his exquisite still-life paintings as well as his award-winning furniture design, has lived in Lennox Head for 10 years because "it is one of the most beautiful places in the world".

The Archibald Prize will be judged on March 30.



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