Cathy McGowan becoming a Prize candidate

Cathy McGowan views Marijana van Zanten’s portrait of her that will be entered for the Archibald Prize. Picture: JOHN RUSSELL

Cathy McGowan views Marijana van Zanten’s portrait of her that will be entered for the Archibald Prize. Picture: JOHN RUSSELL

CATHY McGowan’s portrait is all about the hands, says Archibald Prize entrant Marijana van Zanten.

The contemporary portrait artist has painted the Indi MP for Australia’s top art prize.

“I had an image in my mind of Cathy with her hands like this,” van Zanten said.

“Her hands have created everything she has done.”

Ms McGowan posed five times for van Zanten and visited her home studio in Lavington yesterday for the unveiling.

“I am proud this is going to the Archibalds in Sydney,” Ms McGowan said.

“I like this angle — there’s a sense of openness.

“I hope people will vote for this in the People’s Choice Award.”

The prize attracts more than 600 entries and is awarded annually to the best portrait, usually someone distinguished in the arts, letters, science or politics, painted by any artist living in Australasia.

Van Zanten put her life on hold for four months while she created her entry.

She admitted it was hard to know where to start — but when she did start, she knew what she wanted.

“She is a very vibrant woman, so painting her in pastels wouldn’t work,” van Zanten said.

“There’s lots of Cathy’s colour — orange.”

Finalists will be announced next month.

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