Goat farmer Claire Coulter of Larnook with artist Jen Harkness of Brays Creek and Jen’s artwork Claire and Princess. Jacklyn Wagner
Goat farmer Claire Coulter of Larnook with artist Jen Harkness of Brays Creek and Jen’s artwork Claire and Princess. Jacklyn Wagner

Painting is a reflection of region

JEN Harkness got inspiration for her artwork, Claire With Princess, from a lady who sold goat's milk at her local market.

"We bought some goat's milk and goats off her and then got to know her more," Ms Harkness said about Claire Coulter of Larnook. "She's such an open person. She's so accommodating, lovely, alert and present."

Ms Harkness moved to Brays Creek from The Netherlands 10 months ago and did not know anyone in the area, but Ms Coulter tried to make her feel welcome.

Ms Harkness was inspired to paint her portrait, which also featured a goat, Princess, and has been selected as a finalist in the Northern Rivers portrait prize.

The competition is organised by Lismore Regional Gallery and is in its third year. The gallery's curator, Kezia Geddes, said Claire With Princess depicted more than just one person and a goat.

"In some ways this is like a universal portrait of people from this region who harbour this real affinity with nature," she said.

The Northern Rivers portrait prize benefited the whole community, Ms Geddes said.

"It involves the local community well by providing an opportunity for local artists to publicly exhibit their work, but also the local community by speaking about local people," she said.

"It's like a portrait of our diverse region."

More than 100 artists from around Australia entered portraits in the competition and the winner will receive $10,000. An Emerging Artist Prize and People's Choice Award winner will also receive $1500 and $500.

Ms Geddes said artists of all ages and experience levels entered this year.

The artworks have been whittled down to 55 finalists and former Archibald Prize winner Del Kathryn Barton will choose the winner based on its conceptual and esthetic qualities.

Ms Harkness hoped exposure gained through the Northern Rivers Portrait Prize exhibition, to be held at Lismore Regional Gallery from Saturday March 24 to Sunday May 6, would help her career grow.

"It's nice all of a sudden things are starting to take off and I'm getting a chance to show my work to other people," she said. "It would be nice to make some sales."

The winner will be announced at Lismore Regional Gallery on March 24.

 



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