Raelene Sharp’s portrait of actor John Wood the favourite of Art Gallery NSW staff.

Melbourne artist Raelene Sharp has won the prestigious Packing Room Prize for her entry in the 2012 Archibalds.

Her portrait of Australian actor John Wood, A strength of character, captures the former Blue Heelersstar in a relaxed pose, looking frankly back at his viewers.

The Packing Room Prize invites the Art Gallery NSW staff who receive and display the entries for the Archibald – among the first people to see the finalists grouped together – to vote for their favourite. The Gallery’s head storeman Steve Peter presides over 51 per cent of the vote.

Sharp sketched Wood in his home and arranged several sittings in her own studio. “I did a few studies of him to find the right look in order to represent his peresonality,” she said. “We have now become quite good friends.”

Born in Melbourne in 1957, Sharp began her career as a graphic designer but now focuses on portraiture. Although A strength of characteris her first painting to feature in the Archibald, in previous years her work has hung in Melbourne’s Hidden Faces of the Archibald Prizeexhibition...