Euan Macleod won the Archibald Prize in 1999 with a self-portrait and was a finalist last year with a painting of artist Guy Warren. His subject this year is artist Rodney Pople, who has been an Archibald Prize finalist on 11 occasions.
‘I’ve admired Rodney’s work for longer than I’ve known him. We first met in the late 1980s but got to know each other teaching at the National Art School in the late 1990s. More recently, we have often got together to discuss each other’s work. Critiquing another painter’s work is a sensitive business but I find Rodney’s advice incredibly helpful (and hopefully this is reciprocated),’ says Macleod.
‘I’ve wanted to paint Rodney for ages as he has an incredibly expressive face. I was originally going to do a larger painting and the four paintings are studies towards that, but I wondered if I’d lose the freshness in a larger work. Our discussions often centre around how easy it is to lose the life in a painting by overworking it. Rodney is full of energy and is willing to take risks and push boundaries. I hope I’ve captured a sense of his directness and passion. We also go to the same yoga class, where Rodney shows similar attributes!’