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JUDITH O'CONAL

Artist - F.R.A.S., M.P.A.A.

 

Amanda Garrett, Finalist 1995, Archibald Prize

Many years went into the development of her technique in portraiture.  The tonal method, with its grand tradition of Titian, Carravagio and Velasquez, seemed ideally suited to painting portraits from life. Here in Australia it is known as the Meldrum method. This was studied for over ten years at the studios of the late Graeme Inson, with whom Judith formed a close friendship.  This was one of the most important periods in her life.     

Although the trend seems to be to minimise time and effort by the use of photographs, to Judith there is no substitute or equivalent to the painting of a portrait from life.  She continues to value and enjoy the challenges which personal contact with her sitters brings, through the exchanges of conversation and learning about their professions and activities.  Meeting eminent Australians and painting their portraits has been a rewarding facet of her career.  Painting Justice Lionel Murphy was one such memorable experience. What has developed from her study and experiences as a portrait painter is a technique, which is a blend of the academic and tonal schools of painting.

There is a special quality in her sympathetic representations of women which reveal her natural empathy with these subjects.  With her Jewish/Irish background, her personal taste has always led to the enjoyment of colour in painting the people and dress of different ethnic cultures.

Click here to view examples of portraits.