When Avril Thomas started entering works for the Archibald the criteria was, the subject must be someone distinguished in art, letters, science or politics. The prize then was $30k, its now $100,000 more in line with National Competitions.
The work had to be a portrait painted from life, with the subject known to the artist, aware of the artist’s intention and having at least one live sitting with the artist.
Her first subject was Mike Tyler AO. Internationally known for his work with frogs. Artist and subject met in a bizarre way….serendipity working unbelievably at its best! The work was unveiled at a function at Eastwood Community Centre Adelaide by Christoper Orchard
The next entry “Minister From Down Under” was hung – the subject Alexander Downer AC… He, at the time was the longest serving Minister for Foreign Affairs for Australia. Its a very bizzare moment to personally sms the foreign minister to tell him whether or not the work won. 250 thousand people then used to visit the show and see the hung works in person….This painting is now hanging at Magpie Springs
This 5′ x 6′ painting was a private commission – the subject fitted the criteria Joe Verco – “Perpetual Optimism” Oil on Canvas by Avril Thomas. The scene is his station near Broken Hill. Given the size of the property it took a while to settle on the best view. The homestead in the background and airstrip in between. Joe posed for the painting on a beach near Adelaide. The shadows needed to all be going in the right direction to make sense in the painting. A compilation of several images.
Cheryl Bart AO Oil Painting by Avril Thomas. Cheryl despite her other achievements loves to climb. She and her daughter were the first mother/daughter team to climb Mt Everest. She belongs to a very elite club one of the few people in the world to have climbed every major peak and been to the North and South Pole. Her painting includes the ice pick she had with her at the top of Mt Everest. This painting is in a private collection in Sydney.
The Big Boys Toys – Oil painting by Avril Thomas – Subject – Mike Rann AC, CNZM. Painted while Premier of South Australia. The background was the view from his office looking south from the State Administration Building in Victoria Square, Adelaide. The objects speak of achievements made during his time in office. This painting was unveiled at the artists studio then in Eden Hills South Australia. (he had unveiled the Avril Thomas portrait of Marjorie Jackson-Nelson at Government House South Australia – a Commission by The National Portrait Gallery in Canberra)
“The Remedy” Oil on canvas by Avril Thomas – Subject Basil Hetzel AC An Australian Living Treasure.
Basil was Internationally known for his remarkable discovery then ongoing commitment to the prevention and treatment of Iodine Deficiency Disorder. As a result many countries have now legislated that salt for human and animal consumption must be iodised. It is claimed that iodine supplementation has been achieved in 70% of households worldwide by 2000.
The painting includes images of goitre, dwarfism, the brain, the chemical symbol for Iodine, The countries most affected, and of course, salt – the remedy.
The painting was exhibited at Adelaide University Bonython Hall during a Major exhibition as part of Adelaide University School of Medicines 125th celebrations…… READ MORE
This painting now hangs in the Basil Hetzel Institute for Medical Research at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital
The next entry was a commission from Jayco distributers across Australia and NZ to give to Gerry Ryan OAM to celebrate 40 yrs in buisness . The Unveiling was in Melbourne. Do look at the link on his name to see the massive contribution he has made in Australia not only for Travel but in Sport and in the Arts as well. He sat for the portrait in the board room at Jayco in Melbourne. The background compostion was completely invented with many elements discribing his achievements.
Artist Social media and Websites
Avril Thomas website
Avril Thomas Art Gallery at Magpie Springs
Magpie Springs Gallery and Cellar door on Facebook
Images inspired by Magpie Springs – photography by Avril Thomas – prints available online