Selected as a finalist – The Portia Geach Memorial Art Award 2021 – S.H. Ervin Gallery Sydney

The Portia Geach Memorial Award is an art prize for portraiture by women artists.  The Award was established in the will of the late Florence Kate Geach in memory of her artist sister Portia Geach.  Exhibition   November 4 – December 19   2021

Margaret Ackland in a Chequered Dress      acrylic on canvas    122 x 91cm

Margaret Ackland is a drawer, painter and water colourist.  She completed A Diploma of Education after studying at Sydney’s National Art School and taught at Tafe from the mid 80s through to 2015.  An obsessive drawer since childhood, her work captures the incidentals of daily life.  Though well established as an oil painter, in 2014, after having been given a small travel watercolour set, Margaret established ‘The Watercolour News’, a daily habit of making intimate watercolours based on press photographs and newspaper items creating a visual archive of local and international people and events.  As she says ‘the transparency of the pigments allows for endless nuance.  The fact that there is no white imposes a certain discipline which can be very unforgiving’.  Her shy introspective disposition allows her the space to cast an observant and meticulous eye over social behaviour, current events and intimate relationships in her expressive, sensitive drawings and beautifully rendered water colours and oils.

Margaret has raised three sons, taught for decades, encouraged and supported students whilst creating an amazing body of work.  I have tried to convey her inner strength in my painting of her seated on a red chair with a direct unflinching gaze.