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Vanessa Stockard

Self-portrait as new mum
acrylic on wood panel
50 x 50 cm
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‘Before and after the birth of my beautiful daughter, I seemingly read every book, blog and web page available to help prepare myself for a newborn. In reality, none of this could capture the all-consuming shock of having a baby, and her incredible beauty,’ says Vanessa Stockard.

‘In response, I completed a series of self-portraits to capture the experience of being a new mum.’

Stockard likes to combine drawn elements with painterly brush strokes, as she has done in this work. Here, she juxtaposes what she describes as ‘the less-controlled pools of transparent shadow against hard planes. In approaching this self-portrait, I used a combination of maintaining control and letting go – a concept I grapple with each day,’ she says.

Born in Sydney in 1975, Stockard graduated from the College of Fine Arts in Sydney in 1999. She works from a studio in the Southern Highlands in New South Wales where she lives with her husband William and their daughter Isobel. She frequently paints the natural world around her and delicate still-life works. This is her first time in the Archibald Prize.

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