CRONULLA artist Alexander McKenzie has been named as a finalist in this year's Archibald Prize for his portrait of actor Toni Collette.
"She is one of my favourite Australian actors," Mr McKenzie said.
"She hasn't chosen a normal path for actors and I admire that."
Mr McKenzie, who is known for his luminous landscape paintings, has been a finalist in the Archibald Prize five times before.
He said he wanted to capture Ms Collette in a different light.
"I was trying to show another side to her," he said.
"She is a very determined woman. She is unaffected by Hollywood."
Joining Mr McKenzie as one of the 39 finalists is Arncliffe's Paul Jackson.
His painting titled Jo features artist Joanna Braithwaite surrounded by many of the animal characters which she has painted in the past.
"For several decades, Jo and I, unbeknownst to each other, have made works that were characterised by the use of animals as a metaphor for the human condition, to the point of anthropomorphosis," Mr Jackson said.
"I thought my piece should reflect that.
"I've reinvented the characters in a different environment."
Mr Jackson won the 2009 Archibald Packing Room Prize with his portrait of comedian Paul "Flacco" Livingstone.
Several other local artists including Kath Carroll, of Heathcote, and Miranda artist Joel Moore also entered this year's competition.
For Miranda artist Joel Moore (pictured below with his Archibald Prize entry and children Pearl, 3, and Frankie, 1) it was all about the beard.
His latest piece of art, which he entered in the prize, is a bright and unique self-portrait centred around facial hair.
"The painting represents a bit of my personality," he said.
"I have used bright colours and the weird expression to represent how I like to do things differently and stand out from the crowd," Mr Moore said.
"My painting is interesting because it is mostly done with Posca paint pens."
And while Mr Moore may have missed out this time he was happy to have taken part.
"I wanted to enter because it is the most prestigious art prize in Australia," he said.
The Archibald Prize is awarded annually to the best portrait of a man or woman distinguished in art, letters, science or politics, painted by any artist resident in Australasia.
Last year Tim Storrier won the Archibald Prize for his painting The Histrionic Wayfarer (after Bosch).
The Archibald Prize winner will be announced on Friday.
See a photo gallery of finalists' work: http://www.theleader.com.au/story/1364206/finalists-archibald-prize-2013/
Or a Decade of Archibald Winners: http://www.theleader.com.au/story/1361085/a-decade-of-archibald-winners/