PORT Macquarie's jewellery designer superstar Samantha Wills has been immortalised on canvas for the prestigious Archibald Prize.
Pottsville artist Corinne Lewis asked Wills, who these days splits her time between New York and Sydney, with occasional trips home, said painting the portrait has been the highlight of her career.
"Samantha was my obvious choice," Lewis said. "I love painting women adorned in opulent jewellery and luscious fabrics. Beauty and old world elegance is paramount."
Lewis had not previously met Wills but had admired her passion for her work, her talent, enthusiasm and her generous nature.
"I loved her style and of course her exquisite jewellery. Samantha's honest and heart felt words throughout her blog, and her interactions on social media, had me thinking that she must be a lovely, kind lady."
She had emailed Wills in December requesting she sit for her the next time she came to Australia.
Wills replied overnight saying she'd be honoured. When Wills came home to visit family she spent time at her Byron Bay holiday house.
It was there she sat for the artist, who has been painting full time for a decade.
"I was taken aback by how lovely she was and by her glowing natural beauty," Lewis said.
She and Wills had discussed ideas for her portrait via email.
"I wanted her to wear as much of her beautiful jewellery as possible - especially turquoise - and to wear lace. Samantha suggested she sit in a peacock chair as it is part of her signature brand."
When Wills showed Lewis the necklace she had created specifically for the sitting, Lewis said she was overwhelmed.
"It was embellished and decadent with turquoise stones, jewels, gold and all pieced together to adorn her neck perfectly and boldly. It was a piece of art in itself."
Lewis said the portrait took about three months to complete over all.
"The detail in all the intricacies of her necklace, lace dress and the chair were all-consuming."
Corinne was able to encapsulate three elements that have become Samantha Wills brand and style signatures and craft it into something so captivating, Wills said.
"I feel incredibly blessed to have sat for her, it was a completely humbling experience."
The Archibald Prize finalists are announced on Thursday but Lewis said she isn't nervous.
"I understand how many entries the gallery would have received and there are so many talented artists in Australia.
"It's very competitive and very difficult to be chosen as a finalist so I don't have an expectation."
Lewis said the fact Samantha loved her portrait achieved her most important goal.
"I wanted to achieve a likeness and portray the sparkle and wonderful loving personality that she has."
She said if she is chosen, the cork on a bottle of Wills' signature SW Peacock Lane champagne will certainly be popped.