Avril Thomas - Portrait Artist



Welcome to the website of Avril Thomas



Commission an original portrait – hand painted or drawn
or buy one of her originals
oil painting, pastel drawing, watercolour, charcoal or graphite

 her original work is on display in the Magpie Springs gallery

Prints by Avril Thomas are now available on canvas, mugs, shirts, phone covers and much more.


Avril Thomas, born in Malaysia, has enjoyed a lifetime of drawing and until 1996 it was essentially was a private pursuit. Whilst living in Queensland Avril’s talent was recognised and was asked to teach.

On returning to South Australia she has participated in many joint and solo exhibitions.

Her main focus is portraiture in charcoal, graphite, pastel and oil, all with a tonal realist style. Avril’s works can be found in Hong Kong, U.S.A. as well as round Australia in corporate and private collections.





Career Highlights

  • Entering the 2004 Archibald Prize with a portrait of Prof. Michael Tyler. “The Frog Man”
  • The portrait of Alexander Downer, “The Minister from Downunder” for the 2005 Archibald Prize, made Avril a finalist.
  • Commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery to paint Her Excellency Marjorie Jackson-Nelson, Governor of South Australia
  • Commissioned by Flinders University to paint Vice Chancellor Anne Edwards
  • A retrospective exhibition and unveiling of Premier of South Australia Mike Rann’s portrait “The Big Boys Toys”
  • Artist in residence at Flinders Medical Centre – a marathon of paintings and drawings of the staff in the Operating Theatres for a solo exhibition (42 pieces) “Theatre Works”
  • Commissioned by Adelaide University School of Medicine to paint and draw key people in the Medical profession for the 125th Anniversary of the school exhibition another marathon effort – “A day in the life exhibition” 59 images were created for this exhibition with artist Meg Brassil.
  • Commissioned by Monash University to paint a suite of portraits
  • Portrait of Bazil Hetzel portrait “The Remedy” now on display at the Bazil Hetzel institute. Was used by the great man himself at Uni SA’s exhibition to celebrate his achievements May 2012




Avril Thomas of a Member of..

Royal South Australian Soc of Arts

Portrait Artists Australia

Portrait Society of America





Avril Thomas as Judge..

Parkside Primary School 2008

Campbelltown Rotary 2008

Campbelltown Rotary 2009

Campbelltown Rotary 2010

Solar Art Prize 2012

Blackwood Rotary 2013


Corporate / Business Collections

  • All that and More – Building Company
  • Flinders University
  • A number of Surgeons Rooms in Adelaide ++
  • Flinders Medical Centre
  • Thoma’s Trek – Wine co
  • Basil Hetzel Institute
  • National Portrait Gallery
  • Monash University
  • Adelaide University
  • Jayco head office Melb



70 Emma 1_edited

Portrait commission information


Avril commission work is primarily from photographs, this avoids the inconvenience and expense associated with long posed sittings. She prefers to take her own photographs since her needs for composition and lighting are rarely met through commercial studio photography or personal photography.

Her work usually incorporates elements which tells of the subject, including background and setting

For posthumous portraits, Avril will work with you to select an appropriate photo reference. A portrait is a collaboration between artist and patron.

Clothing choice is up to the model however Avril does ask that unless the lighting is exceptional not to wear dark clothing as descriptive folds, curves and shapes are usually lost. During the first sitting a colour check is done with pastels.

At the first sitting, size and medium will be discussed and therefore the price. Paintings or drawings are priced without the frame. The price is based on the following factors, the number of people or pets in the painting; the size of the actual painting itself; the intricacy of clothing, jewellery and props and the complexity of the background setting.
Vice Chancellor Anne Edwards

Commission pricing:

Oil on canvas

(examples of approximate pricing to be expected)

61cm x 76cm – $5,000 to
1200cm x 1800cm – $30,000 for one subject

Pastel – $1,500 to $6,000

Charcoal/graphite – $ 1,000 to $5,000

10% of the fee is expected as a deposit or booking fee.


These ranges may appear quite large, but to successfully communicate the personality of the sitter, pieces of relevance to the life of the sitter are encouraged to be included in the image. Discussing these things gives Avril a chance to get a feel for the sitter and therefore discover how the composition will be.

69 Greg

Framing, shipping and travel expenses for the artist are the responsibility of the client.

You can expect your portrait to be ready two to three months after the sitting if oil, and sooner if it is a drawing.

Contact Avril Thomas for a portait now!

Follow Portrait Artist Avril Thomas on fb


Exhibitions participated in were

  • Myer Center, Adelaide Central School of Art
  • Blackwood Rotary Exhibition 2001
  • Solo Exhibition – Gallery M. Aug – Sept 2002. Introducing Avril
  • Royal South Australian Society of Arts – Pursuit of Individuality Nov 2002
  • St Catherine’s School – Illuminate – Nov 2002
  • Royal South Australian Society of Arts – 2003
  • Royal South Australian Soc of Arts – July 2003
  • St Catherine’s School – Nov 2003
  • Solo exhibition – The unveiling “ The Frog Man” Archibald entry and other works – 2004
  • Scotch College – Immerse your Senses 2004
  • St Catherine’s School – Art & Sol 2004
  • Finalist Archibald 2005 – Gallery N.S.W.
  • DSCF0406

    At the Archibald 2005 NSW Art Gallery, Portrait of Alexander Downer 4’6″ x 6′ “Minister from Downunder” Oil on Canvas by Avril Thomas

  • Newcastle Region Art Gallery -July – August 2005
  • Moree Plains Gallery – August – September 2005
  • Cowra Art Gallery – September – October 2005
  • Albury Regional Art Gallery – October – November 2005
  • Victorian Arts Centre  – November – February 2005
  • Kadumba drawing award N.S.W – 2005
  • Scotch College – Scotch Fine Art Exhibition 2006
  • St Johns –Belair Hills Art Show 2006
  • Solo Exhibition – Bon Voyage 2006
  • Portrait Artists Australia – Sydney – Idols and Icons 2006
  • Unveiling of Her Excellency Marjorie Jackson-Neilson’s portrait for the National Portrait Gallery Canberra 2006
  • marj-and-av

    At Government house painting portrait of Governor of SA Marjorie Jackson Nelson commissioned by National Portrait Gallery Canberra

  • Scotch College – Scotch Fine Art Exhibition 2007
  • Royal South Australian Society of Arts – Spring Exhibition 2007
  • Life Work Art Exhibition – Adelaide 2007
  • Portrait Artists Australia – Sydney – Friends 2007
  • Unveiling of Vice Chancellor Prof Anne Edwards Flinders University permanent collection2007
  • Solo Exhibition – Unveiling Premier Mike Rann’s portrait and retrospective works 2008
  • feb-1-005-copy

    Premier Mike Rann at the unveiling of his portrait “Big Boys Toys” oil on canvas Painted by Avril Thomas (an entry to the Archibald) and retrospective show held at artists studio /home

  • Solo Exhibition – South Australian Living Artists Festival 2008
  • Portrait Artists Australia-  Healing Hands 2009
  • Face to Face – Group Exhibition South Australian Living Artists Festival 2008, Ayres House,
  • Joint exhibition with Meg Brassil – 3 Divas2009
  • Scotch College – Group Fine art Exhibition 2009
  • Flinders Medical Centre – Theatre Works Solo 2009, 10 Surgeons participated. Robert Padbury, Dr Phill Griffin, Dr Foreman, Dr David Wattchow, Dr Bessell, Dr Rudi Jaarsmar, Dr Barnett, Dr John Freeman, Dr Jay McGavigan,


    Exhibition Theatre Works at Flinders Hospital Drawings and paintings by Avril Thomas

  • Face to Face – Group Exhibition SALA Ayres House/National Trust Museum
  • Solo – Open Studio SALA 2009
  • Private exhibition during Hans Heyson festival, Hosted by Sue Heyson featuring works by Hans Heyson and Avril Thomas 2009
  • Opening for the Adelaide University school of Medicine 125th Historical Exhibition May 2010

    4.Guests listen to Minsiter Hill's opening address

    The opening in Bonython Hall at University of Adelaide during the celebrations of 125th Anniversary of the School of Medicine

  • Adelaide University School of Medicine 125th “A day in the Life of Medicine” Bonythan Hall

    Associate Professor Bill Griggs Retrieval

    Portrait of Bill Griggs – “Retrieval” Oil on Canvas painted by Avril Thomas

  • Adelaide convention Centre select pieces from ” A day in the life of Medicine” exhibition
  • Federal Parliament House Canberra –  Portrait Artists Australia Portrait of Karen Reynolds
  • “Southern Exposure” exhibition in conjunction with the Fleurieu Art Prize. Held at Magpie Springs 2013
  • Open studio SALA 2014
  • “Sensurious” Magpie Springs duel show with Judy Morris
  • Unveiling of Gerry Ryan Portrait – Crown Melbourne Victoria

    The unveiling of Gerry Ryan’s portrait, Oil on canvas painted by Avril Thomas Commissioned by Jayco Australia and NZ dealerships – at Crown Melbourne

    Commissioned by Australia and NZ dealers Jayco 2015

  • Sentiments” with Elaine Cheng Erika Walter at Magpie Springs SALA 2015
  • Works on show Magpie Springs
  • Women Painting Women 2016 Burrinja Victoria Australia National show with Fiona Bilbrough | Jacqui Grantford | Raelene Sharp | Sally Ryan Vicki Sullivan | Heather Ellis
  • 2016-05-01 17.20.10

    Avril Thomas with her painting “The Artist” Oil on Canvas during the Australian National Women Painting Women exhibition held at Burrinja Victoria


Products for sale using Avril Thomas Prints

Click link to see selection of products for sale using Avril Thomas Prints

Choose print you like,

click on the items your interested in purchasing

Men’s women’s or kids apparel
Cases & Skins
Wall Art
Home Décor

add your address


  delivered to your door.


There are 2 options for how soon you wish to receive your items – regular or express.
Prints of drawings and paintings on apparel stationary bags home décor these products are for sale



Spikes: then and now

Her Excellency Marjorie Jackson-Nelson ac cvo mbe (b. 1931), former sprinter, has been Governor of South Australia since November 2001. The ‘Lithgow Flash’ won two Olympic gold medals at Helsinki in 1952, becoming the first Australian woman to win an Olympic gold medal for track and field and the first Australian to win an Olympic gold medal on the running track since 1896

Read More

Portrait of Karen Reynolds

Portrait of Karen Reynolds. Australian Engineer of the year 2010 and South Australian Scientist of the year exhibited at Federal Parliament House Canberra with Portrait Artists Australia exhibition  “Celebrating innovators”

The Artists Book

Proud to be included in “The Artists Book” a 180 page book released in Sydney April with leading artists from round Australia. A Portrait Artists Australia publication.  A really beautiful celebration of portraiture!!!  Am one of only 2 artists from South Australia

The Artists’ Book Portrait Artists Australia Ten Years

The Remedy

copy of “The Remedy” used by Basil Hetzel during Uni SA exhibition to commemorate his lifes work.

Arts in Health at FMC

In 2009 Avril Thomas worked as artist-in-residence in Operating Theatres, Flinders Medical Centre. The aim of the project was to capture portraits of a variety of staff members and to provide a rare glimpse inside an operating theatre through the eyes of an artist. The artwork profiles staff at work, highlighting the technical skill, concentration and precision involved in a surgical operation. The residency culminated in an exhibition in the FMC Promenade Gallery A.

Read More

Independent weekly

Avril’s work was featured both in the Independent weekly August 6 – 12

Deans of Science collection

8 Portraits Monash – Deans of Science collection

Posthumous Piece

Commissioned by Monash University to paint Les Williams – Posthumous piece

Portrait Artists of America

Now a member of Portrait Artists of America

Private Commissioned Pieces

Working on private commissioned pieces

Graduate’s portrait comes home

A portrait of esteemed medical researcher and graduate Dr Basil Hetzel AC, painted to commemorate the University of Adelaide’s 125th anniversary of its medical program, has been officially unveiled in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Dr Hetzel was one of 59 of the State’s best known medical personnel who were captured on canvas this year by two local artists and displayed in Bonython Hall as part of the Medicine 125 celebrations.

His portrait, by artist Avril Thomas, now hangs in the atrium of the Basil Hetzel Institute for Medical Research at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) as testament to his lifelong work to combat iodine deficiencies worldwide.

Read More

Portrait of Basil Hetzel “The Remedy”

Portrait of Basil Hetzel “The Remedy” was unveiled at The Basil Hetzel Institute for

Translational Health Research. Delighted to have this image featured several times throughout the 2010

Research Report

A day in the life of medicine in South Australia

The cream of South Australia’s medical profession has been brought to life by two local artists in a specially commissioned art show celebrating the 125th anniversary of the University of Adelaide’s Medical School.

Fifty-nine portraits of the State’s best known medical personnel will be on display in Bonython Hall for four days from 30 August, thanks to the work of Avril Thomas and Meg Brassil.

The two artists have spent the past 12 months working around the clock, painting high-profile South Australians who have made a major contribution to medicine and health in this State.

A Day in the Life of Medicine includes:

  • Dr Basil Hetzel AC, a medical researcher and University of Adelaide graduate who has made a major contribution to combating iodine deficiency worldwide;
  • Associate Professor Bill Griggs AM, a trauma specialist at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, 2009 South Australian of the Year, and inventor of the Griggs Technique for tracheotomies, a technique now used worldwide;
  • Professor Villis Marshall AC, internationally recognised urologist, prostate cancer specialist and kidney disease researcher;
  • Professor Dorothy Keefe, Clinical Director of the Royal Adelaide Hospital Cancer Centre who specialises in mucositis, the oral and gastrointestinal tract damage following chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

The remaining 55 portraits cover subjects from a wide range of specialties and eras, including the co-founder of the University of Adelaide’s Medical Program in 1885, Sir Joseph Verco, who was recognised as the leading physician in Adelaide in the late 1800s.

Read More

A day in the life of medicine in South Australia

The cream of South Australia’s medical profession has been brought to life by two local artists in a specially commissioned art show celebrating the 125th anniversary of the University of Adelaide’s Medical School.

Fifty-nine portraits of the State’s best known medical personnel will be on display in Bonython Hall for four days from 30 August, thanks to the work of Avril Thomas and Meg Brassil.

Read More

A Festival Of The Spirit

Traveling south to the Flinders Medical Centre, Bedford Park, where Flinders University also maintains a presence in the Promenade Gallery of this large, regional hospital’s long walkway, works from Avril Thomas’s exhibition Theatre Works: An Artist’s View Inside Operating Theatres were displayed under the SALA Festival’s imprimatur..

Read More

Commissioned by Monash University

2010 Commissioned by Monash University, Victoria to paint collection, Deans of Science Prof Jock Marshal, Prof John Swan, Bill Muntz, Prof Ian Rae, Prof James Warren, Prof Ron Davies , Prof Ross Norris, Prof Kevin Westfold.

Stateline ABC Segment

on the Theatre Works exhibition held at  Flinders Medical Centre

Guardian Newspaper 19/08/09
Rann the model Premier

WHEN Premier Mike Rann comes out to play, we hope the Archibald judges don’t run away!

Eden Hills artist Avril Thomas captured South Australia’s head honcho in a painting she’s called Big Boys Toys as her latest entry in the acclaimed portrait competition, the Archibald Prize.

She says the Premier was a great model. “He was very amenable, he’s really been a good sport about it and I think he likes it too,” Avril says.

And the title was inspired by the knick-knacks in Mike’s city office.

“He has little replicas of boats, planes, because his mother used to build Spitfires (when the Rann family lived in Kent during the WWII “blitz”) and (items) of interests in overseas trade, so there’s a reference to that as well,” she says.

“There’s a little Hindu sculpture given to him, and the eyeball from the last (Adelaide) Festival, binoculars from his father . . . and because environmental issues are so hot I added a gum tree as well.”

Subjects for the Archibald must be nationally or internationally known in the arts, politics or science, and in the past Avril painted former Liberal foreign minister Alexander Downer.

But she doesn’t know who’s next on her wishlist.

“I just play it by ear – it’s tricky because if you don’t know people of this calibre, if they haven’t seen your work it’s like cold calling,” Avril says with a laugh.

“Jana Wendt’s been done about seven times (by other artists).”

Read More

Artdate – “How I feel about Art” – Issue 75 April/May 06
The Age – Portrait of a winner?

The 2005 Archibald Prize finalists reveal a mixed bag of talent, writes Peter Hill.

How popular is the Archibald Prize? According to London’s The Art Newspaper (March 2005), Australia’s best-loved portrait prize came ninth in a listing of contemporary art exhibitions around the globe for 2004.

Read More

National Portrait Gallery

Preparatory study for Her Excellency Marjorie Jackson-Nelson AC CVO MBE

Read More

Stateline ABC – Segment – “South Australian Women and the Archibald” 04
Postcards Channel 9 – Segment – Solo Exhibition “Introducing Avril” 02

Contact Avril


  • Phone: avril@avrilthomas.aldingamedia.com.au
  • Mobile: 0401 749 112

Social Media

  • Facebook
  • Google+
  • LinkedIn


Best number for contact = Magpie Springs 08 85567351