London, Oct 6 : He may be one of the biggest artists in the world today, but Rolf Harris had lost his nerve over a bottle of turpentine when he painted a portrait of the Queen. The Aussie artist has been asked to commemorate the monarch's 80th birthday on canvas at Buckingham Palace.
"I was as nervous as anything. I was in a panic," The Telegraph quoted him as saying.
He added: "We sat down and I said: 'What are you like with the smell of turpentine? Does that affect you badly?'
"She said: 'We shall find out, shan't we?' So I said: '...Because I like to slosh on paint to kill the white of the canvas with a bit of turpentine. Then I start with a blur which looks something like the subject and I gradually refine it. And she said: 'Sounds very strange to me.'"
Later, the conversation turned to the Queen's Coronation, which the 78-year-old artist had attended.
By the times the portrait sitting reached the final stage, he said, the atmosphere had become more relaxed.
"She put us all at our ease. We finished up chatting like very old friends. She was just lovely through the whole thing," he said. arris went for a soft emerald glow and relaxed pose for his portrait of the Queen.
Harris was made a CBE in the Queen's birthday honours list in 2006 for his services to entertainment and the arts.