In this digital day and age, it’s refreshing to appreciate the importance of having a portrait painted by an artist. Before the invention of photography, having a portrait painted was used to record the appearance of someone. Portraiture was usually reserved for the powerful, beautiful or wealthy.
You don’t necessarily need to be any of these things to have your portrait painted these days. Portraits can give a fascinating insight into the subject through the interpretation of the artist. You get to see how others see you while creating a legacy for future generations.
Portraiture painting still holds great value in our society and there has never been a more important time to honour the arts. Or the celebration of women with the 10th anniversary of the Permanent Impressions collection in April 2021 – a collection of 50 portraits of some of Western Australia’s most influential women. Permanent Impressions compromises of a cross-section of women who have made a major contribution to our society and community services. Some of the women who are part of Permanent Impressions include Carmen Lawrence, Fiona Stanley, Kate Lamont and Ros Worthington.
Painted by award-winning and Perth-based artist Jana Vodesil-Baruffi, Permanent Impressions is the largest portrait collection by a single artist.
Jana completed each of the 50 portraits in just one year. There was the added challenge of completing each portrait within a 24-hour timeframe and with a palette knife, a technique she has mastered. A decade later the collection remains as a complete stand-alone collection.
It was a process that was as satisfying as it was challenging and Jana says, “The project was a great artistic challenge and the excitement of that really appealed to me.”
“None of the ladies posed for me in a specific way, they just acted as themselves and I captured them in the moment, giving the appearance they are engaging with the audience,” shares Jana.
A book documenting the process and featuring the profiles of each of the women was published by award-winning publisher Carina Hoang Communications and titled Permanent Impressions: a salute to contemporary heroines. The book won a bronze IPPY award in New York City in 2014 in the non-fiction category for Australia/New Zealand in the Independent Book Publishers Awards. If you would like a copy they are available for purchase at www.janavodesil.com/books-videos
I was honoured to be included in this book project and I had the opportunity to re-interview some of the women in 2021 and you can read the interviews here.
Publisher Carina Hoang is part of the Permanent Impressions collection and shares, “An artist as talented as Jana can bring out unique things in a person like certain personality traits that a photo just can’t capture. I hope there will be more stories like the ones in the Permanent Impressions book because there are so many incredible stories out there that have not yet been told.”
Admired by thousands and receiving widespread acclaim, it’s not until you’re actually standing among the portraits of these remarkable women that you can truly appreciate the scale of Permanent Impressions – and the impact a portrait can make.