Portrait of Cassandra Golds

Sonia Kretschmar > Fine Art & Portraits > Portrait of Cassandra Golds

Portrait of Cassandra Golds

My portrait of author Cassandra Golds was selected as a finalist for the 2011 Archibald Prize. From the AGNSW website:

“The subject of Sonia Krestchmar’s portrait, Sydney-born author Cassandra Golds, writes books for children and young adults. Her writing has been described as part parable, part surrealist fable and part love story.

Kretschmar first became familiar with Golds’s work when she was commissioned to illustrate the cover of her novel Clair-de-Lune for Penguin Books in 2004. Since then she has illustrated two other novels by Golds: The museum of Mary Child (2009) and The three loves of Persimmon (2010).

‘After getting to know her (via Facebook), and in celebration of her recent achievements of being shortlisted for both The Prime Minister’s Literary Award and The NSW Premier’s Literary Award, I thought the time was right to paint her portrait,’ says Kretschmar. ‘I met with her a couple of times last October, and had the chance to do some sketches as well as mull over the best way to represent her.

‘Reading a passage from her latest novel The three loves of Persimmon, I was struck by the lines: “Persimmon gazed at him. For a moment she had the strangest feeling that there was a bird trapped inside her ribcage, as if her bones were its prison and it was flapping frantically against them, trying to get out. She opened her mouth, but could find no words.”

‘As birds, and cages, and cats all seem to be recurring themes in her work, those lines were the perfect catalyst for my concept,’ says Kretschmar. ‘Dressing her in a voluminous lace skirt seemed an apt reflection of her “other time, other worlds” sensibility. The lines of text in the background are also taken from The three loves of Persimmon, which, coincidentally, describes the meeting of the main character with a young male artist who offers to paint her portrait “for an Art Prize”. In a sense I think this portrait has been willed into existence on behalf of both of us!’”

2 thoughts on “Portrait of Cassandra Golds

  1. Hello, I am doing an assignment on your portrait ” The Heart of Things” and I need some more background information. If you can help I just need some information on why you did this painting and if this impacted you and Cassandra in any form. Thanks

    1. Hi Katy
      I did this portrait as, by that stage, I had been the cover artist for three of Cassandra’s novels. I was quite taken by the imagery and characters in her books – slightly surreal, slightly melancholy – so I thought she would be a perfect subject for me. I also had a strong idea – a vision – early on as to how I wanted to approach it.
      In the background is hand written text from one of the chapters of ‘The Three Loves of Persimmon’ in which a male character actually enters a portrait prize not dissimilar to the Archibald; this gave me an added sense of the portrait “needing” to be done at that point in time. Cassandra was also nominated for a few literary awards that year, so all these things conspired to add momentum to initiating the piece.
      It was my first ever attempt at entering the Archibald; I think it helped me reach a much wider audience, and it may well have brought new readers to Cassandra’s work as well.I think the piece caught the imagination of a lot of people, especially kids, so I’m glad that I acted on the ‘vision’ that I had whilst walking on the beach in Sydney one Christmas 🙂

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