A three-month passion project inspired by nature and renewal has taken out the $2000 People's Choice Award at the Archibool.
The top gong went to Terang's Irene Crusca for her portrait Ann Krause in Yambuk - amongst the 'Fabric of Life'.
Crusca moved to the region three years ago following a challenging period, a theme she shared with her subject.
"I'm surrounded by landscape and nature in these parts which I wasn't in Melbourne," she said.
"That's been important for me in healing from the COVID period which was angst-ridden for me. My mother had just died and I'd been looking after her with dementia.
"When I came here it was all about getting peace from the countryside and the outdoors. Equally, Ann just reconstructed her new house in Yambuk and she's very content there.
"She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007 and after that she supported other survivors through activities and socialisation to help them get their lives back.
"The reason why I painted her outdoors is when I took photos of her indoors, she didn't look happy. But when I took her outdoors with the wind in her hair, she was so happy and I could just see that her expression was right.
"I wanted it to be full of life because it was also in part about what she'd gone through."
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Crusca said she felt honoured and thanked the volunteers at the F Project for their support.
"I feel very, very privileged to think that many people voted for me when most of them didn't know me," she said.
"But it's also due to the recognition the community gives the volunteer, which in this case was Ann."
Elizabeth Knight took first prize for The Warrnibald with her portrait of Liza McCosh.
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