‘Larger-than-life’patron on canvas

Headshot of Sarah Ison
Sarah IsonBusselton Dunsborough Times

Janet Holmes a Court’s private collection will open to the South West again next week, including Rachel Coad’s larger-than-life portrait of the Australian businesswoman.

Using oil and pencil on a linen canvas, Coad captured a Court’s likeness to be seen in the exhibition Scratching the Surface. According to Coad, the patron was a great supporter of the arts, with a love for the process behind each piece.

“She’s a big supporter of my work in particular,” she said.

“I’m very lucky to have three of my artworks feature in the exhibition. She was also the perfect model, with so much patience. I spent a lot of time on the portrait and produced something like four different versions, but Janet understood that process.”

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The artist said she initially wasn’t sure what size to paint the portrait, but settled on a 200cm by 285cm canvas.

“Janet is larger than life and she certainly lights up a room when she enters it — in the end, that’s why I think the portrait so suits her,” she said.

The piece was a finalist in the 2015 Black Swan Portrait Prize, garnering attention among hundreds of featured pieces.

Scratching the Surface includes paintings, drawings, ceramics, sculptures and textile works from the Perth-born philanthropist’s collection.

Coad said the exhibition was interesting in how it linked artwork to family history and character.

“It’s a very special exhibit, including works collected over the years and the stories behind them,” she said.

The exhibition also features many historic West Australian works and indigenous art.

“It’s very eclectic and has so much variety to offer, and it also demonstrates just how much the a Courts supported the arts,” she said.

It opens at 11am on Sunday, October 8, at Vasse Felix.

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