A PORTRAIT by local artist Zoe Young has been chosen as a finalist in this year's Archibald Prize.
The painting of Cooma winter Olympian Torah Bright was one of 54 finalists for 2014, which was won by artist Fiona Lowry for her portrait of architect Penelope Seidler.
"I was really surprised when I received the email explaining that I was a finalist for the award. I woke up and was just scrolling through my emails, I definitely jumped out of bed that morning," Young said.
As a child, Young grew up on a farm in Crackenback where she trained as a ski racer alongside Bright's older siblings.
She was selected for a scholarship at the National Art School, graduating in 2012. Post graduation Young returned to the region to focus on creating art influenced by the rustic aesthetic of the mountains.
"My studio got blown down in the high winds on Alpine Way a few years ago, all my artworks were a pile of debris. I was so devastated that I decided it was time for a new hair change and went to 2627 Hairdressing in Jindabyne where Torah's sister Abish worked.
"We talked about snow, art, the Olympics and Torah," Young said.
"I was looking for a subject for the Archibald who was not only well-known but someone I admired and related to. Abish said Torah was in town and the next thing I knew we were in Cooma catching up."
Torah Bright is a champion snowboarder and one of Australia's most successful female winter Olympians.
Born and raised in Cooma, Bright attended local schools with her four siblings.
At the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, she won a silver medal in the women's halfpipe event, the first medal for Australia in the 2014 Winter Olympics.
"Originally I planned to do an epic painting, something larger-than-life that captured the excitement and daring tricks of her sport, something really bright, maybe even with a splash of glitter," Ms Young said.
"But after the sitting, I looked through the sketches and thought, "I'm just going to paint what I saw". I caught Torah in an introspective moment, a calm silence after the chaos of recent months, somewhere between the guts and the glory, and her private and public lives,"
Young was also the recipient of the 2013 John Briscoe Memorial Prize judged by Lucy Culliton and runner up of the 2014 Yen Young Female Artist of the Year Award with her portrait of Winter Olympian Frank Prihoda.
"Frank is a beautiful person, he has been around since we were all children riding the snow bus into Thredbo and has seen us all grow up and have families of our own."
Frank is a member of the historical society in Thredbo and has inspired Young for her next series of works based on his stories.
"Art is a great way to make those stories and the history of our area more accessible to younger generations," Young said.
The portrait of Frank Prihoda can be seen at the Wildbrumby Schnapps Distillery in Crackenback.
Young will also be holding an exhibition at the Distillery during September as well as an exhibition at the Burrawang Designer and Artist Festival in October.
The artwork 'Torah Bright' by Zoe Young is currently on display at the 2014 Archibald Exhibition held at the Art Gallery of NSW until September 28, 2014.
For more information or to follow local artist Zoe Young, visit her website at www.zoeoliviayoung.com.