Henry Lawson was an Australian writer and poet who received considerable media attention at the beginning of the nineteenth century. He is the subject of this unusual *‘portaricature’, (a fusion of portrait and caricature).
The placement of Henry’s head on the canvas is slightly off centre, and this helps the viewer focus on the subject’s eyes. The source of light is coming from the front and it highlights his tie and face.
The artist used two cool colours, bright blue and deep green on a large area of the canvas in this ‘contemporary’ rendition of Henry. His yellowed skin tone, enlarged eyes and elongated features are the artist’s ‘signatures’ and appear in many of his paintings.
The dash of yellow colour on the left side of Henry’s face, is in contrast to the blue background and it gives the painting a touch of energy. It was mixed with blue and used to give Henry a green moustache. The short, thick brushstrokes of the moustache pick up light, and the painting becomes quite bright and interesting. The blue-violet colours used for his hair and tie, give Henry a youthful look.
This painting is ‘different’ and the overall mood is quite sombre. It would be altered dramatically if Henry had been painted with an orange tie and his face was left unveiled.
Compare this with Henry in Anything Portrait.
Acrylic on Masonite, date unknown. (Cleaned and framed.)