Shani Rhys James

Rolf Harris travels to fellow Australian Shani Rhys James's home and studio near Welshpool in Powys and on the way gives some brief background to her life. On arrival, they look at her paintings and discuss her style as well as the inspiration and thoughts behind her work. They discuss the autobiographical nature of her paintings and the vividness and intensity of the people within the paintings. She describes her use of a small hand mirror and how she refers to it constantly as she paints. She views the portrait as a landscape. Rolf decides that if he is to paint in the style of Shani Rhys James then he needs to do some soul-searching of his own and research his own family's history. He travels to Merthyr Tydfil and describes the life of his grandfather, who was a professional artist, his grandfather's late wife and nine children, how they emigrated to Australia and finally talks of two of the sons who fought in the First World War. Rolf looks at his grandfather's paintings, discusses the death of his uncle in battle and how this affected the family. He returns to his studio to paint a self portrait in Shani Rhys James's style. He struggles with the technique at first, but as he perseveres and changes and reworks parts of the painting he becomes happier with it and is delighted with the final piece.

Release date: 09 Jan 2013

13 minutes

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