Jessica Watson is the youngest person to have sailed solo, non-stop and unassisted around the world, returning to Sydney on 15 May 2010, three days before her 17th birthday. She was named the 2011 Young Australian of the Year.
‘Like many thousands of Australians, I followed Jessica’s journey around the world quite closely and was swept up in the moment of her arrival and the patriotism it instilled in us,’ says artist Tom Macbeth, who has a daughter the same age.
Watson sat for the 2011 Archibald Prize portrait on board her project manager's yacht on Queensland's Sunshine Coast, where she is from. The portrait was later painted a few square centimetres at a time. Using very thin layers of oil, Macbeth finished one small section before moving on to the next.