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The subject of Rosemary Valadon’s portrait is artist Luke Sciberras. The title refers to his nickname, ‘The Scribbler’.
‘I have known Luke for many years, and for the last 11 we have been neighbours in Hill End, where I have seen him in many situations and emotional states,’ says Valadon.
‘He is an exuberant and generous entertainer. He also suffers self-doubt, works hard, brings chicken soup when you have the flu and interacts with the community here. Career-wise, he is now in a state of effervescent achievement.
‘Luke is a mercurial figure so he is not easy to capture on canvas. This is my second attempt and I feel that knowing him so well now, I have been able to achieve a distillation of his appearance and character that makes me happy.
‘My painting was influenced by a photograph of a sardonic David Bailey taken by Lord Lichfield. It depicts him in evening dress, with a serviette drooping from his sleeve, cigarette in hand, and a slightly bemused expression. I responded to the roguish self-confidence of the image, and Luke loved it as well so we decided to use the pose as our starting point.’
Valadon’s career spans 35 years. There have been several survey shows of her work, most recently at Bathurst Regional Art Gallery in early 2016. She has won the Blake Prize, the Portia Geach Memorial Award and the Muswellbrook Art Prize and is a regular finalist in the Sulman and Archibald Prizes.