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Kerrie Lester James Morrison with flugelhorn

oil on canvas

183 x 229 cm

Image courtesy National Portrait Gallery, Canberra

Kerrie Lester has entitled her portrait of jazz musician James Morrison as such because, she says, 'musicians are always billed as playing with someone’. She has depicted her subject with half flugelhorn, half piano to suggest that he is surrounded by his music, the main focus being Morrison and his hands (the real instruments of an artist’s work). The canvas is huge, allowing it to suggest a larger-than-life public persona and, by combining the use of lots of different mediums with such a sense of space, she creates much more of a three-dimensional effect than is usual in her work. Lester has departed from her usual choice of lots of white in her work to create a jazzy, bluesy, dark feel in keeping with her subject matter (the man and his world of music). Lester’s portrait of Peter Weiss the year before also used the metaphor of man and his music. Lester says that listening to music while painting helps her to 'create an incredible mood’.

This portrait is now in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra.