I am very proud to announce that I have recently completed a portrait of world champion swimmer Cate Campbell (OAM). Cate and her younger sister Bronte represent a tour de force in Freestyle, of the short courses in world competitive swimming.
As many can attain, Cate is not only an incredibly talented and disciplined athlete, but one of the nicest and most genuine people I’ve met. How lucky was I when she said yes to posing for a portrait. I spent a morning in December 2016 with Cate discussing and shooting images for her portrait. We caught up again recently for an informal sitting and big reveal of the portrait in it’s final stages. It’s been a tremendous journey and I’m very proud of the finished portrait which will be entered into various portrait prizes throughout the year.
In the portrait I wanted to capture Cate’s steely determination and focus. I wanted the portrait to be an authentic representation of Cate as well as an iconic image of ‘the great Australian swimmer.’ Therefore the yellow and green swimming cap is an important symbol. Although Cate helped smash the 4x100M Freestyle world record at the Rio Olympics, the media lamented the lost opportunity and failure to meet expectations about Cate’s performance in the 100M Freestyle. I wanted to show the shadows are in the past and Cate coming out into the brilliant sunshine. She is a remarkable athlete and a great ambassador for the sport of swimming and our country. She’ll always do Australia proud and this I know we can all agree on.
“This experience has been one of the most eye-opening and humbling experiences of my life. I have gained a new found respect for artists and their craft. The level of detail that Brett went into and the hours of preparation that was spent on this portrait, before a brush was even touched, is truly astounding. I have enjoyed every stage of this project, from meeting Brett, to taking the photos, to learning about the preparation process, to finally seeing the finished product, which surpassed all of my expectations. I feel honoured and privileged to be the subject who Brett chose and am inspired by his skill and dedication. But most of all I admire his passion for art and his commitment to the pursuit of excellence.” Cate Campbell
The painting has been done on a 6mm thick timber panel, braced with Tasmanian Oak. 16 coats of a specially made primer are applied and sanded after each coat; the panel is gradually sealed as subsequent coats of priming are applied. It’s been created using 38 pigments/oil paints, some of which I grind and make myself by hand. Likewise, some of the grinding and drying oils are refined and made in my studio; my special walnut oil being heated at 100+ degrees celsius for 72 consecutive hours. Fossilised amber resin, which has been painstakingly dissolved in oil/solvent at a high temperature is also used to help seal the pigments against moisture. The painting has taken approximately 150 hours to complete. The portrait will be framed under glass.
Cate is training well and hopes to compete in the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, and 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. If Cate’s spirit is any indication, then I think we can expect more great things to come. Cate’s achievements include (are you ready?):
· CURRENT WORLD RECORD HOLDER- 100M FREESTYLE
· RIO OLYMPICS 4X100M FREESTYLE- 1ST 2016 (WORLD RECORD)
· RIO OLYMPICS 4X100M MEDLEY RELAY- 3RD 2016
· WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS 50M FREESTYLE- 3RD 2015
· WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS 100M FREESTYLE- 4TH 2015
· WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS 4X100M FREESTYLE- 1ST 2015
· COMMONWEALTH GAMES 100M FREESTYLE- 1ST 2014
· COMMONWEALTH GAMES 50M FREESTYLE- 2ND 2014
· WORLD CHAMPION- 100M FREESTYLE 2013
· LONDON OLYMPICS, 4X100M FREESTYLE- 1ST 2012
· WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS 50M FREESTYLE- 3RD 2009
· BEIJING OLYMPICS 4X100M FREESTYLE- 3RD 2008
· BEIJING OLYMPICS 50M FREESTYLE- 3RD 2008
See more of Cate on YouTube here: