A moment with Natalie
About the artwork and sitter
This light, open and engaging portrait of five-time volleyball Olympian medallist Natalie Cook shows her in her Olympic uniform, smiling and laughing, her trademark effervescence and enthusiasm on show.
Catherine Jorissen has chosen contrasting light and dark with unpolished, painterly brushstrokes to portray Cook’s strength of character, vitality and determination.
As a sporting ambassador and motivational speaker, “Natalie is someone who makes things happen. She had a childhood dream to be in the Olympics. She made it happen. She had a dream to bring the Olympics to Brisbane – now she’s making that happen too.
“Natalie is always smiling and laughing, radiating an energy that you can’t ignore. I wanted to portray this energy in my painting, and have positioned Natalie purposely on the edge of the canvas so the viewer felt close to her.”
About the artist
Catherine Jorissen is a visual communications designer and emerging artist. She has a Master of Fine arts (RMIT, Melbourne) and a Bachelor of Communications and Fine Art (NAU, Flagstaff Arizona). She lives in Brisbane with her husband and two children.
“Human expression, light and shadow drive my work. My process begins with an extensive photo study and in-depth personal interview in order to allow the true essence of the person to be captured.”
Behind the scenes
I was introduced to Nat through our children who attend the same school in Brisbane’s western suburbs. As an Olympic icon she is an inspiration but getting to know her as a fellow mum makes her even more so. When she agreed to sit for me I was excited for the opportunity and the challenge to portray her essence.
Human expression, light and shadow drive my work. My process begins with an extensive photo study and in-depth personal interview in order to allow the true essence of the person to be captured. I then undertake compositional studies to establish the painting’s structure and arrangement, which is followed by sketching and painting various layers, typically wet on wet, until the work fully emerges.