St Albans artist Paul Borg’s love affair with canvas

A St Albans artist’s depiction of his teenage daughter has come tantalisingly close to taking out Australia’s richest portrait award.

Paul Borg was selected as a semi-finalist in this year’s Doug Moran National Portrait prize for a painting of his daughter, Eva, titled ‘Interrupting her moment of concentration: Eva and the apple’.

“The hardest people to paint are yourself or someone who’s very close to you,” Borg said.

“It was really hard to get her face how I wanted it and to capture her essence. She was happy with the finished result.”

The Doug Moran competition, which received 985 entries this year, is Australia’s richest portrait award, with the winner pocketing $150,000 – twice as much as the $75,000 Archibald Prize.

The 51-year-old St Albans resident has entered the competition six times and has been named a finalist four times and a semi-finalist twice.

Mr Borg said he was grateful to have been selected as a semi-finalist.

“Some people don’t respect what you do … they think it’s just a hobby. But when they learn that you place in these kinds of competitions, they see you differently. It gives you a sort of respect and acknowledgement,” he said.

“I’ve never won the big one, but it would be great.”

Mr Borg, who has been interested in art since primary school, taught art and painting for 29 years at Victoria University and left earlier this year to start his own art school.