WA leader’s portrait

Holly ThompsonSound Telegraph
Daniel Smith’s portrait of Rockingham MLA and Premier Mark McGowan.
Camera IconDaniel Smith’s portrait of Rockingham MLA and Premier Mark McGowan. Credit: Supplied

A Rockingham artist has made it his mission to highlight the faces of the local community, by painting both local heroes and the faces of those experiencing hardship across the region.

Daniel Smith has been painter his whole life, but has been a professional artist for about 20 years.

He said he had not been able to choose between his plan to paint local heroes and the faces of the homeless community and so had decided to do both at once.

“I suffer with a typical painter's desire to paint everyone and everything but with that niggling annoyance of only having finite time,” Mr Smith said.

“The plan is to paint both local heroes and also the faces of the homeless. Owen Farmer was the first in the series of local legends, Mark McGowan was next. Coming up is Audrey Austen and also I'm planning to reach out to Anne Moore.

Daniel Smith’s portrayal of Owen Farmer.
Camera IconDaniel Smith’s portrayal of Owen Farmer. Credit: Supplied

“As for the series of portraits of the local homeless, the plan is to give a face to the faceless, as a society we manage to ignore the uncomfortable truth of how poorly we care for our weakest and most vulnerable.”

Mr Smith said it had been great to meet Mark McGowan and he had aimed to paint him as a man, not a politician.

“Hopefully I caught some of the strength and resilience that he's displayed during these unusual and difficult times,” he said.

Mr Smith said one of the best things about being an artist was “a never ending quest to get better and better.”

“That doesn't mean more realistic, but more truthful and achieving a direct communication of what you see and feel,” he said.

“It's a job that is all consuming. That's also probably the hardest part of painting too. I, like most artists, suffer with extreme self doubt about my work and tend to have completely unrealistic expectations of myself.

“It's impossible not to fall short when you're reaching for the likes of Rembrandt.”

Daniel Smith has always loved painting.
Camera IconDaniel Smith has always loved painting. Credit: Supplied

Mr Smith said future projects included a possible mural project coming up in Perth, some illustrations on the go for commercial clients, a bunch of portrait commissions and a new painting series for a gallery exhibition.

“I really hope that an exhibition like the one I'm planning might receive some government sponsorship and support,” he said.

“I think it could be a great opportunity to celebrate the community of Rockingham, bring awareness to the plight of our homeless and also be a cultural experience for our city.”

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