Melissa Belanic

Barry takes out Archibald Prize

ENCHANTED by his tall tales and character performances since her childhood, Melbourne-born artist Louise Hearman has taken out this year's Archibald Prize for her portrait of actor Barry Humphries.

Barry, the oil on Masonite painting of Humphries in a white suit on a black background, took out the coveted portrait prize at a ceremony in Sydney on Friday.

Ms Hearman said she had been enchanted by his tales of "thin slices of ham being surreptitiously interlarded in great piles of ladies' flesh-tone control briefs in Myers' bargain basement" since she was a child.

But, ever hopeful the actor and painter would let her paint him, it was a mutual friendship that led to Humphries sitting for the portrait.

"As it happened we became friends through mutual acquaintances and much to my delight Barry agreed to sit for a portrait," she said.

"I tried many ideas, but as it progressed, the painting itself showed me the way."

The indigenous painting family the Ken Family Collaborative from Amata in Outback north-western South Australia won the Wynne Prize for their work Seven Sisters and Esther Stewart won the Sir John Sulman Prize with Flatland Dreaming.