Black Swan Prize: Kalamunda artist paints mum’s portrait


Claudine Gueho with the portrait by her daughter Kendal Gear.
Picture: David Baylis        www.communitypix.com.au   d457878
Claudine Gueho with the portrait by her daughter Kendal Gear. Picture: David Baylis        www.communitypix.com.au d457878

ARTIST Kendal Gear took on a tall order when she asked her mother to be her muse.

Her mother, Kalamunda artist Claudine Gueho, worked for many years as an illustrator with the Department of Education.

Ms Gear (26) said painting a portrait of her mother was a little intimidating and she had not entered many competitions.

The gamble paid off because the artist’s portrayal of her mother is shortlisted in the final 40 of the Black Swan Prize, one of Australia’s richest portraiture competitions.

Ms Gear is one of 13 artists from WA featured in the 10th anniversary of the art awards, offering a main prize of $50,000.

“Mum is my inspiration,” Ms Gear said.

“When I asked her to be my model for the competition, she didn’t give too much away but she did say yes.”

Unbeknown to Ms Gear, her mother was secretly honoured.

“I know how capable she is; if she wanted to paint me she must have thought there was something worth painting,” Ms Gueho said.

“She has caught an expression typical of me.”

Mother and daughter agreed that making a living as an artist was not an easy pursuit.

“I’m very proud of Kendal,” said Ms Gueho.

“We’ve always encouraged our children to do what they love.”

Ms Gear, of Kalamunda, prefers to work in oils and paints portraits in between working part-time in an art supply store in Midland.

She also does figurative work and Kalamunda Senior High School art teachers selected her for the specialist art program.

She later studied fine art at Curtin University and launched her business when the commissions started to come in.

“It’s definitely a big risk choosing art, but I’m managing to make a living so far and spending much of my time painting,” she said.