IT WAS a portrait two years in the making.
Lismore-based artist Cassandra Rijs wanted to paint her partner of three years, Dean Greguric, but couldn’t think of the right way to portray him.
She took hundreds of photographs of him before finding the perfect one.
“It just reminded me of a photograph of my son when he was a month old – they are both sleeping in the same pose,” Ms Rijs said.
“I knew it was the right one.
“I love the contrast between the vulnerability of him sleeping, but being such a rugged-looking man.
“Most people never see that side of Dean.”
But it seems the wait was all worthwhile – Ms Rijs has won the prestigious Northern Rivers Portrait Prize.
The honour was announced in front of hundreds of people at the Lismore Regional Gallery last night.
“I’m very surprised,” she said.
“I was outside when they announced it and someone said to me, ‘you’d better get in there because you’ve just won’.
“There are so many amazing portraits – a lot of great work has been done.
“I spent three months, on and off, working on Dean’s portrait.
“I hadn’t even finished it when a friend said I should enter it in the competition.
“But I got it finished just in time.”
Ms Rijs will use her $7500 in prizemoney for a trip to Europe.
“I’ve never been to France or Germany, so I’m looking forward to it,” she said.
Art has been her passion ever since she could hold a crayon.
“I’ve been painting since I was about 15,” Ms Rijs said.
“It’s my whole life.”