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Anatomy of a portrait . . . Artist Luzette Crossan assembled images of her painting in progress around the finished work. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

A painting by Oamaru artist Luzette Crossan topped the “people’s choice” votes at the Otago Art Society awards.

Her close-up of a weathered old man’s face earned comments such as “Beautiful piece” and “Incredible!” from voters at the society’s gallery in the Dunedin Railway Station.

Crossan named the painting Being Content. It was based on a photograph she had found, which itself reminded her of people she had seen in South Africa, where she grew up.

“It has lots of memories.”

The portrait took her five months to complete, in oils on canvas. Oil paint was best for that type of project because it gave her “time to work with it”, she said.

“It was a little bit of a personal challenge for me. I’ve never done a beard like that before. I had to really push myself.

“I’m very pleased with it.”

Crossan liked that the man’s whole life showed in his face.

“I’m very lucky. The Lord has given me this talent so I can show people there is beauty in everyone.”

The painting now hangs in Oamaru restaurant Cucina.