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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Vaike Liibus

In their own words

Recorded 1965

Vaike Liibus
Audio: 2 minutes

I like to have my sitter sit for me and then I do a sketch or a couple of sketches, and then I proceed to put it on canvas, just block it in. I don’t use pencil or crayons very often, I like to use a brush with a very thin medium, and I draw it in onto the canvas and then I do a lot of blocking in, and then I like to have my sitter back when I’ve done all the preparing, and then paint with my sitter present.

Sometimes, of course, I come into very difficult problems because my models haven’t got as much time as they – as I – would need and I try and do as much without them from memory and occasionally have to have a photo taken, and try and do a little from that. But I don’t think you can ever get the colour and the feeling trying to ever paint from a photograph. You must have the live person there and you get some inspiration from them as you’re working, I think on portraiture anyway.

I like to have my portraits with a feeling that they are casual and not in every detail, because sometimes I think I feel as if they’re overworked and have a very tight feeling about them. I like the loose flowing feelings and a little bit of softness and a little bit of imagination left to it.

Acknowledgements

This oral history of Vaike Liibus is from the De Berg Collection in the National Library of Australia. For more information, or to hear full versions of the recordings, visit the National Library of Australia website.

Audio source

National Library of Australia, Hazel de Berg collection

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Vaike Liibus

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency