Por­trait artist faces up

Central Otago Mirror - - NEWS - By EMMA DAWE

Art and mo­tor­sport col­lided last week when Cromwell artist Dei­dre Copeland opened her lat­est ex­hi­bi­tion at the High­lands Mo­tor­sport Park in Cromwell. Her re­cent ex­hi­bi­tion fea­tured her trade­mark portraits of men’s faces and in­cluded lo­cal men Tim Hawkins, Bill God­sall and Bill Dar­ling. Ms Copeland has been paint­ing men’s faces since she was a fifth for­mer at school and said she never tired of the work. ‘‘I love them. ‘‘I just find them so in­trigu­ing.’’ Some of the pieces had al­ready been sold, and it wasn’t just the mod­els who bought them, Ms Copeland said. ‘‘I try and make them more anony­mous so they’re less about the per­son and more about a mo­ment in time. ‘‘It’s sur­pris­ing how many peo­ple will buy portraits of peo­ple they don’t know.’’ She was al­ways hugely ap­pre­cia­tive of the mod­els who ‘‘lend’’ their faces to her gen­er­ously. ‘‘They essen­tially end up be­ing ac­tors on a stage and play­ing out a scene I’ve cre­ated in my head.’’ Ms Copeland said she was al­ways search­ing for new ‘‘vic­tims’’ to paint, but gen­er­ally they found her. She also oc­ca­sion­ally painted older women but they were harder to come by as many women were shy about hav­ing their faces ‘‘blown’’ up on can­vas high­light­ing their im­per­fec­tions. And it’s not just men’s faces Ms Copeland paints, she is work­ing on her lat­est se­ries of work fea­tur­ing skyscrap­ers and land­scapes which she de­scribed as ‘‘quite ab­stract and min­i­mal­ist’’. At last week’s ex­hi­bi­tion she also un­veiled her largest piece of work to date – a two-and-a-half me­tre wide paint­ing of High­lands Mo­tor­sport Park owner Tony Quinn’s six grand­chil­dren sit­ting in his favourite car, the McLaren MP4.

Photo: EMMA MAD­DOX

Fam­ily: Cromwell

artist Dei­dre Copeland, left,

and her ap­pren­tice and

cousin Tui John­son in front

of one of Ms Copeland’s pieces of work fea­tur­ing Cromwell sport­ing

iden­tity Bill God­sall.

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