The question of stopping

Dr John Wamsley by Kendrea Rhodes

Archibald Prize entry of Dr John Wamsley, 2005

Each stage of this painting was photographed and at its first exhibition those photographs were also on display. Two questions were asked repeatedly, ‘why didn’t you stop then?’ & ‘why did you stop then?’ The answer being the same for both,

‘it’s hard to know when to stop, but when you’re on a deadline, you work to it. Sometimes right up to it.’

Follow the stages of this painting on the Art of Creating John page where you can ask those questions yourself according to the pictures taken at each stage. Would you have blocked in the beard, or let it flow? What about the lips and eyes? All good questions – my decision was made, let me know the step at which you’d have stopped.

One of the reasons I stopped was due to the rules of entry to the Archibald Prize stipulating a ‘dry painting’. Yes acrylic dries quickly, but it had to travel over 1300km (800 miles), so my deadline was shortened and decisions made quickly. Maybe given more time, I would’ve blocked it all in.

Click to find out more about the prestigious Australian Archibald Prize and Dr. John Wamsley

©Kendrea Rhodes 2023

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