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30 January 2010


Australian fashion designer Wayne Cooper with his portrait by Sonya Rothwell
Sonya Rothwell visits Australian fashion designer Wayne Cooper at his Sydney home for his sitting for her Archibald Prize 2010 portrait submission : 'FLIPSIDE – WAYNE COOPER' : :

Sonya's thoughts about this portrait:
This painting is a unique depiction of someone I have known for over ten years (Wayne Cooper and my eldest brother are old friends) : Despite his 'bad boy' image Wayne's a big softy, though he would not care to admit it : He is open, kind, generous of spirit and very funny : I wanted to show Wayne as I see him, when he is relaxed at home with his family and friends having fun : On the morning of our first sitting with the help of his family, we made him laugh, a lot : :

It's difficult to capture genuine happiness, pure 'joy' from a static pose – the sitter can look forced and unnatural, so after much silliness I sketched Wayne then got him to jump up and down on the trampoline with his children : As he jumped I took photographs of him really laughing and having a good time : I went home and immediately got to work while the warm fuzzy feelings of the morning were still with me and flowed that feeling into the painting : Initially I worked it up from a sketch and the photographs until it was nearing completion, then Wayne sat for me again : :

Wayne is very charismatic and often has a wry twinkle in his eye : He has an interesting face with strong features that are softened by his boyish dimples and infectious grin : This is the focal point of his portrait : I wanted his warmth to really shine and have an emotive affect on the viewer : The cool green highlights recede clashing against the warm shadows making the oranges really zing! This gives him a 'Cheshire Cat' appearance, as if he is emerging from the background : :

I have used oranges and reds because they are energizing colours that represent joy, passion, security and courage : I also chose green for this painting because it is the colour of unconditional love, compassion and forgiveness : :


Australian fashion designer Wayne Cooper with his portrait by Sonya RothwellAustralian fashion designer Wayne Cooper with his portrait by Sonya Rothwell for The Archibald Prize 2010

NB. Wayne was receiving a lot of adverse publicity in the press around the time I painted this portrait  : : 


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