Tuesday, February 5, 2013

*SPECIAL POST* From The Studio of Stella Rosa McDonald and Lucy Lehmann

Let A Published Novelist Paint Your Portrait In Words: Stella Rosa McDonald and Lucy Lehmann first got their buskers' licences and started painting the portraits (in words) of passersby in 2010.  McDonald draws in the punters with her irresistible patter - "Are you a fan of fiction?  Do you have a passion for the page?"  Lehmann, seated on a milk-crate, taps on her great-great aunt Janet's typewriter, describing the punter McDonald seats before her.  No character speculation: just a sketch of the face.  McDonald counts down the five-minute session, which is never long enough for Lehmann.  The punter hands over five dollars for the original, and a carbon copy goes into the Studio archives.  To see a few portraits, visit:

2012 saw a suspension of the Portrait enterprise, with McDonald in Paris on an artists' residency, and Lehmann moving down to Melbourne.  But come 2013, the spruiker and her word-painter are back in Sydney.  They're ironing the banner, putting a new ribbon on the typewriter and drawing up a good supply of letterhead, in preparation for the next session.  

The 'Let A Published Novelist Paint Your FULL-LENGTH Portrait In Words' Raffle: For the past nine years, when not painting portraits, the Published Novelist has been doggedly scribbling away at her second novel.  On several occasions, she has announced the completion of her great work, only to retract the glad tidings shortly afterwards and disappear yet again into her study.  Finally, last year, it was official.  It was nameless, but finished.  But it was accompanied by no triumphant announcement, no celebration.  It seemed Lehmann didn't even care if anyone read it.  When McDonald returned home from Paris, she was dismayed by the despondent state in which she found her protegĂ©e.  This state of affairs called for action: in fact, A RAFFLE.

First Prize is a full-length portrait in words of the winner (or whomever the winner nominates as a subject).  All proceeds of the raffle go towards printing Part One of Lehmann's new novel.  In McDonald's words: "Lu was in the doldrums.  I said, 'You need some wind in your sails - your novel needs some wind in its sails.  We need to get it out there.'  I came up with the idea of the raffle.  At first Lu was a bit reluctant - she was afraid a full-length portrait meant she had to write a novel about the winner, or a nude full-body portrait.  But I said, 'Everyone knows a picture tells a thousand words - according to my calculations, a FULL-LENGTH picture would be about two-thousand words.'  Lu started warming to the idea.  She even did a little drawing and got it made into a rubber stamp and printed up a batch of tickets.  They're a bit hokey - but that's the Lehmann signature style, I guess."

Lunar New Year's Eve Portrait Session: McDonald and Lehmann are kicking off the raffle-ticket campaign and saying 'goodbye Dragon, hello Snake' with a session of portrait-painting and raffle-ticket-selling this Saturday February 9, from 3-5pm.  If it's sunny, the Portrait Painters will set up in Hyde Park (in the fig-tree avenue near the Archibald Fountain); if raining, in the Central tunnel.  Portraits are the usual $5 for 5 minutes, and the hand-stamped raffle tickets are $5 each.  

If you can't make it to the portrait session and desperately want to buy some raffle tickets, email Lehmann at lucy_lehmann@yahoo.com and she will figure out the best way to get some to you.