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).”

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