It's been a crazy two weeks in our house ever since Tony was named a finalist in the 2015 Archibald Prize. It's a huge achievement, being one of Australia's most recognised and celebrated art prizes and we've just come back from Sydney where the exhibition was launched. Here are a few snaps from a very exciting trip:
Tony entered a portrait of our friend Luke Grealy in the prize and the pair spent two days at the Art Gallery of New South Wales attending a bunch of different events, from an artist and sitters lunch to the all-important announcement of the winner. I snuck in some family time before the opening party on Friday night.
It felt like a proper celebration, with fancy lighting, a paint-splattered red carpet and waitstaff in bow-ties. We had six tickets all up - two for us, two for Tony's sitter Luke and his wife Moyra (who works with me at the ABC) and Tony saved the last two as a surprise for his father's birthday, which was the next day :)
Tony's painting is the very first on the right as you enter the exhibition. It was so exciting to walk into a gallery that I've been visiting since I was a child, where my parents took me to see everything from surrealism exhibitions to Renoir, only to see my husband's painting on display.
Moyra made a snap-decision to buy the painting of her husband at Tony's exhibition closing party a few months ago but won't see it for about a year because after the Archibald exhibition wraps up in Sydney, it'll go on a tour of regional Australia.
I threw a surprise party for Tony the night of the Archibald finalists were announced and had friends and neighbours help to hide the booze and cheese around town to keep things under wraps. My parents had a special lunch for Tony and my extended family showed up to celebrate, and our friends Angie and Dave busted open a special bottle of whiskey and had us stay for the weekend.
And after driving close to 3000 kilometres in a few short weeks, we arrived home in Wagga Wagga last night and went straight to our friend Tim and Sophie's house for a home cooked dinner, baby cuddles and a very special bottle of wine.
I love that Tony entered a painting of our friend Luke who has been so generous and welcoming ever since we arrived in Wagga Wagga over four years ago. Both Luke and Moyra have shown us how to contribute and be part of a community that has been so supportive of us both. It's felt like the town has been right behind Tony and his Archibald news in these last few weeks.
If you'd like to see the show, it'll be on display at the Art Gallery of New South Wales until September 27. My sister says she'll take my gorgeous niece to the city for the first time to see her uncle's work on display, which warms my heart. I can't wait to buy the catalogue :)