By Sean Lindsay
Chris Bailey says he has captured the warmth and strength of Josie Farrer in his portrait. (ABC News: Emily Piesse)
A paintbrush is not the usual tool of choice for Perth jeweller Chris Bailey, whose portrait of Kimberley MP Josie Farrer is being entered in the prestigious Archibald Prize.
The Mount Lawley jeweller decided just a month ago to enter the art prize, and has been slaving away for up to 16 hours a day since then to meet the deadline, living off a diet of cereal and takeaway.
He only met with Ms Farrer once to complete the portrait, mainly due to her busy schedule.
The Indigenous MP will join an esteemed list of figures who have been painted for the Archibald Prize, including Barry Humphries and George Calombaris.
“I was a little bit blown away when I was asked about it … [I] never ever thought I’d have one done,” she said.
Ms Farrer first saw the finished product on Wednesday and was extremely pleased with the result.
“Chris has done a beautiful job getting it all together considering I wasn’t there most of the time. I think he’s done a fantastic job,” she said.
In 2016, Bailey travelled to Bogotá in Columbia to seek a ‘master’ painter, who he had met and corresponded with on Facebook, to cultivate his painting skills.
After a year under the guidance of his mentor, he returned to his Mount Lawley studio.
“When I first sat down with him he said, ‘what are your goals?’, and I said I wanted to enter the Archibald and … he said ‘yep, no problems, we’ll get you prepared for that’.”
What makes the feat even more remarkable is that it was Bailey’s first attempt at a portrait.
“I’m very happy with it and I think I’ve captured everything I wanted to catch about Josie,” he said.
“I wanted her strength, I wanted her warmth, I wanted all of her qualities and I’m pretty happy.”