Lisa Wilkinson portrait wins Packer Room Prize
TODAY host Lisa Wilkinson radiates a picture-perfect quality every morning she fronts one of Australia's most beloved shows.
So it's no surprise the same quality shone through as a portrait of the 57-year-old won the Packing Room Prize in this year's Archibald competition.
The portrait, titled Lisa WiIkinson AM and painted by New South Wales artist Peter Smeeth, shows the presenter reclining on a chair with her family reflected above her in the screen of a television.
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Smeeth, who could not be at the ceremony due to close friend's death, said Wilkinson's instant recognisability made her "an obvious choice" as a subject.
"The winning of this award is 99 per cent due to Lisa, and 1 per cent to the likeness," Smeeth said in a statement.
"I know for sure that a portrait of me would never win, no matter how well it was painted.
"Being such a high achiever and a great role model for women adds to her appeal as a subject."
Smeeth has entered the Archibald Prize nearly every year since 1984, including a portrait of Wilkinson's husband, Peter FitzSimons, but to no avail.
"I thought I had a chance to win the Packing Room Prize with Fitzy (FitzSimons) in 2010 but Steve (head packer Steve Peters) went a bit arty that year," Smeeth said.
"So it's has taken me 25 years - a quarter of century - to get this most sought-after honour."
In his last year as head packer, Peters, who had 51 per cent of the vote, said the portrait did justice to his key criteria: "looks just like the sitter".
"I looked at the painting and thought, that's a great likeness," Peters said.
"It's how Lisa looks every morning on the telly. She looks like she's laughing at something Karl said!"
Wilkinson said she loved the painting and that Smeeth had "got" her.
The Packing Room Prize - a cash prize of $1500 - is awarded to the best entry in the Archibald Prize as judged by the gallery staff who receive, unpack and hang the entries.