We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.

Belynda Henry Louise Olsen, a beautiful summary

acrylic and pastel on polyester canvas

157 x 116 cm

Louise Olsen co-founded Dinosaur Designs in 1985 and is a creative director and designer at the company with her partner Stephen Ormandy. She is the daughter of artists John Olsen and Valerie Strong.

‘I met Valerie over 25 years ago through a series of evening painting classes,’ says Belynda Henry. ‘Through Valerie, I was introduced to the work of John Olsen. Both have inspired me greatly as an artist. Watching from afar as Louise co-created Dinosaur Designs, I always felt a link to her even though I didn’t know her.

‘Meeting her for the first time, she was exactly as I imagined: elegant and sophisticated with a gentle yet confident, powerful presence. I had planned to paint her portrait as a bold, busy, colourful interpretation of her world. But back in the studio, every time I added a bold design to her outfit or lashings of colour, it felt too much. All she needed was a simple, peaceful setting. I let the painting evolve naturally and a landscape grew around her. Eventually I just painted her in the shirt she wore on the day of our sitting.’

Born in Sydney in 1973, Henry now lives on 40 acres on the NSW Central Coast. She has a Bachelor of Visual Arts from Sydney College of the Arts and has exhibited since 1994. Best known as a landscape artist, she is a finalist in this year’s Wynne Prize as she was in 2015, 2013 and 2000.

Listen to label text

Watch Auslan video