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Paul Procèe Tim Hall (from the Faces series)

oil on copper

20 x 15 cm

Paul Procèe’s portrait of musician Tim Hall is part of a series which he began in 1997. Initially he would go up to people in the street and ask if he could paint their portrait but he found that it was hard to get people to agree to follow a complete stranger to their studio. And so he started asking people in coffee shops and pubs, where they had at least seen him around.

Procèe, who is self taught, says that this particular portrait is one of his personal favourites in the series. ‘There is an intensity in the eyes. Every brush stroke landed in the right spot. It doesn’t often happen but when it does it feels like racing through a series of green traffic lights.’

Procèe started the portrait with the left ear. ‘I love ears and hair,’ he says. ‘The classic T formation is eyes and nose and people often start there, but the ear is small and contained and I feel if I can get that right the rest will flow.’ All the portraits in the Faces series are miniatures and are painted on copper plates, which oxidise over time and in 70 or so years will become blotchy. ‘So it’s an organic thing,’ says Procèe. ‘It’s a living work and has a lifespan the way people do. Initially I didn’t want to tell anyone that because it was my critique on the system where people buy works of art as investments to make money while the artist often makes very little. When I explained it, I’d blown my cover.’

Born in Utrecht in the Netherlands in 1957, Procèe has always been inspired by the work of Flemish and Dutch Renaissance artists. He is the singer/songwriter for the band Verlaine and has been exhibiting his painting and sculpture since 1981. In 1984 he won the International Hakone Award for Sculpture in Tokyo. In 2003 he had a solo exhibition at the Groundfloor Gallery in Sydney and was a finalist in the Archibald, Dobell and Blake prizes and in Art on The Rocks. He also had a painting in the Archibald Salon des Refusés at the SH Ervin Gallery.