Tom Macbeth is an self taught Australian artist working in oils. He focuses on photorealistic portraits and has been a finalist in both the prestigious Archibald Prize and it’s associated Salon Des Refuses as well as the Black Swan Prize.
He has an extraordinary ability to capture the likeness and the personality of each subject and has enjoyed sittings with many prominent people including Her Royal Highness, Crown Princess Mary of Denmark.
One would imagine this internationally recognised, multi-award winning artist has devoted his entire life to painting but in fact his outstanding ability is a recent discovery, having taken up painting in 2009.
Tom had done some drawing with pastels back in 2001-2003 after seeing an artist use them on a sidewalk. “I had no idea pastels were more commonly used for impressionistic style work and, with no teacher at hand, I developed my own techniques to achieve photo-realistic detail.” Within those two years, Tom won a number of awards both here and overseas for his drawings and was honoured with the title of Master Pastelist.
In 2003, tragedy struck and Tom’s wife was diagnosed with cancer. He set aside his art to care for his wife. Following her passing just one year later, Tom became a “Mr Mom”, turning his attention to raising his three children and focussing on his career as a Regional Manager for a construction materials company.
Following his wife’s death, Tom didn’t return to his easel for another seven years. Then in 2010, at the age of 49, he picked up a paintbrush for the first time. He remembers that “it was quite daunting as I had no idea what I was doing.” But unperturbed, and with his sights set high, he entered his first oil painting into the Archibald Prize. His sitter was Professor Mike Archer, the world renowned palaeontologist who is attempting to clone the Tasmanian tiger to bring it back from extinction.
Within two years, Tom did indeed make the Archibald Prize exhibition with his portrait of round-the-world sailor, Jessica Watson. He now paints full time and resides on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.