Merv Beamish enjoys taking workshops and during his time at NEA has presented workshops on favourite topics including abstract painting and making and using oil pastels.
Over the years Merv spoke of his dream of providing mentoring support, along with other artisans, at 'drop in' workshops to be held at NEA in which people would bring their own projects.
Merv's dream became a reality over the past year when he and Irina developed a studio behind their home and made it available as an 'Open Studio' on Tuesdays for mentoring support. Whether arriving to actively work on projects or just call in to mull over matters artistic, a number of NEA and community members have enjoyed the chance to use the studio space and be gently guided by Merv and Irina.
For a number of reasons Merv and Irina need to take a break from offering their 'Open Studio' for the moment. Thank you so much for developing and offering your 'drop in' mentoring concept to NEA members and broader community, Merv!
An occasional BLog.
Over the past few years a 'between exhibitions' tradition has been established of exhibition team members bringing work from the upstairs studios into the Exhibition Gallery (Gallery 2). These exhibitions now have a title - 'Upstairs Downstairs'..
The current, 'Upstairs Downstairs' exhibition features work from studio artists Mervyn Beamish, Bruce Buckley, Frank Burgers, Katharine Martin-Burgers and Simon Klose; costumes from the Killer Pig Productions team and a large work in progress by Tim Bowtell. There may also be works on display by other local artists during the exhibition.
'Upstairs, Downstairs' exhibition, NEA Exhibitions Gallery, 12 January to 7 March 2020
NEA members Mervyn Beamish, Tim Bowtell, John Holschier, Irene Korotkow, Mike Larkin, Cathy Pianta, Tanya Tabone, Sally Wallace and Mal Webster in action!
Photographs: thanks to Annie Longmuir, Bev Lee, Rustik Cafe, Mal Webster
The brainchild of NEA's Exhibitions Coordinator Simon Klose, the $50 Christmas Exhibition is now underway in the Exhibitions Gallery (Gallery 2). Featuring works by NEA members, early sales are promising - new works will be installed as works sell! If something takes your eye, our Gallery Shop volunteers will assist you.
Tuesday is 'Open Studio' day at
Merv and Irina's
4 Byrne Street, Benalla
Start around 10am and finish whenever you like. Basic idea is bring your paints and work on your painting,
I work on mine and will be there if you want advice or encouragement.
This is not a workshop and is free.
We'll provide a lunch ... let us know if you have any special requirements.
RSVP is needed as space is restricted and some Tuesdays may not be available
Contact: email@example.com or call 0417 269 611
Tuesday is 'Creative Expression' day at
Merv and Irina's Studio
4 Byrne Street, Benalla ... 0417 269 611
RSVP is needed as space is restricted and some Tuesdays may not be available
Start around 10am and finish whenever you like
Basic idea is bring your paints and work on your painting,
I work on mine and will be there if you want advice or encouragement.
This is not a workshop and is free.
We'll provide a lunch ... let us know if you have any special requirements.
We can see how it goes and decide if we want to repeat it on a regular basis.
'I am too uncomfortably familiar with fire in the bush and, in this painting, attempt to show its destructive and fearful nature. Yet, also, I'm searching for a Phoenix quality as with fire comes rebirth'
Mervyn Beamish has exhibited at NEA for the past three years and shares a studio at NEA with his partner Irina Korotkow.
Mervyn has drawn and painted since childhood. He studied at East Sydney Technical College and then the National Art School, exhibiting at a number of galleries in the Eastern States of Australia after graduating. His career took him into industrial and trade exhibition design, multimedia and film production and a 30+ career as a freelance writer. Mervyn returned to full time painting in 2006.
Merv has run workshops in art and writing, is a published author and occasional resident artist. He has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in New York, Germany, Poland and Australia. His works are in both local and international private collections including Egypt, Malta, UK, USA and Germany.
Interview with North East Artisan's Mervyn Beamish
NEA artists Irina Korotkow and Mervyn Beamish recently returned from the International Artists Residency in Krakow, Poland.
Q: WHAT WAS THE RESIDENCY?
A: It was by invitation only to 12 international artists to live, exhibit and work together at the Hotel Leopolis (leopolis.com.pl) in Krakow. The idea was to share experiences, techniques and exhibit our works. It included Polish, Korean, Americans, Australians and Indian artists.
Q: HOW WERE YOU SELECTED TO BE INVITED
A: Primarily through social media. My (Mervyn) work caught the eye of New York based international art currator, Basha Maryanska, who invited me to exhibit in one of her exhibitions. Irina and I went to US for the exhibition where Basha also became interested in her work. This was about 5 years ago and we have struck up a close friendship with Basha and a number of other artists. We get invites to show and residencies two or three times a year, but can't accept all of them.
Q: WHY NOT
A: Ha! Time and money, I'm a pensioner so time is not so much a problem, but Irena is a nurse so it is for her.
Q: WHAT ARE THE COSTS
A: This can vary dramatically. There is the return airfare to the location, for both of us and accommodation cost. Basha has a knack of doing great accommodation deals for the group. Some residencies are sponsored by organisations such as the European Union. There is also profit from sales at the exhibition. We have made sales at every residence we've been to, which helps with the costs.
Q: WHAT WAS THE AVERAGE DAY'S PROGRAM
A: Fairly loose and primarily up to the individual. Breakfast included a group planning meeting. Generally the morning was taken up with visiting the old market town of Krakow. Krakow was one of the few cities in Poland not bombed in WWII and, indeed, never destroyed in war, so the old buildings an churches are old, really old. There are numerous churches, museums, art galleries, castles and a salt mine under the city that dates back pre-Roman.
This mine is no longer active, but so large it contains a night club, health spars and I think a hotel and concert venue .... I'll check that out next time (the group has been invited back). Local beer is wonderful and plenty, Polish vodka will knock your socks off (60% proof).
After lunch, which was generally taken under canvas in the central square, we'd come back to work at the hotel using their conference hall as a communal studio.
Each artist is expected to give a minimum 30 minute talk and 'slide show' presentation on their work, influences and history. Evening meal was a group event which generally was followed by more work or whatever.
We were also visited by local artists and invited into their studios, etc.
Q: IS THERE GOING TO BE AN AUSTRALIAN EVENT?
A: We have talked about the possibility of holding an event at North East Artisans, but interest was mediocre on both sides. There is a possibility of one in Melbourne. We will see. The general response from the group was good, but the belief that our beasties are all out to kill people, though a joke to us, to many overseas a true fear. We assured them that snakes are not particularly interested in biting people, spiders are of little concern other than in outdoor dunnies (few knew what a dunnie was in any case) and also suggested that they take any tales of terror kangaroos by Australians with a grain of salt.
Q: FUTURE PLANS FOR THE GROUP.
A: Next year the group will meet in USA and Italy with an exhibition in Paris. Doubt if we can afford to go to either. There was a suggestion of one in Thailand, and vague mention of China. They did try for Spain, but the Spanish hotels are a little over artists!
Q: HOW CAN ARTISTS GET INVOLVED IN GROUPS LIKE THIS
A: Social media, keep an eye on events, publish your work and friend other artists. Don't be afraid to put the word out that you are interested. With us it just popped out of the blue.
An Occasional Blog by Mervyn Beamish, October 2018
You can read Mervyn's blog on a previous residency here http://www.northeastartisans.org/news/the-occasional-blogger-merv-writing-on-his-artists-residency-in-poland
Inspiration for older people thinking of entering the:'Wisdom and Experience' exhibition at NEA during the Victorian Seniors Festival from October 19 - 30th! 70* yr old NEA Artisan Merv Beamish's (2017) just completed portrait of Irina Korotkow in his studio at NEA.
The 'Wisdom and Experience' exhibition is supported by Age Friendly Benalla. Age Friendly Benalla is a project between Cooinda, Hume Primary Care Partnership and Benalla Rural City Council supporting people over 55 years of age in Benalla and surrounding districts.
The Conditions of Entry and Entry form are now available for download:
Merv and Irina are busily preparing for another international artists residency in Poland.
In one of the very first 'occasional' blogs on NEA's website Merv reported their participation in this international artists residency in 2016. It's worth a read. 'Occasional Blogger' Merv Beamish on his artist's residency in Poland'
Hopefully Merv will write another 'Occasional Blog' about the 2018 Residency,
Photograph: Mary Ann Glass
“Described by others as a ‘Reluctant Eccentric’, my trademark is a badge studded kangaroo skin hat more commonly referred to as ‘me ‘at’ as in ‘Where’s me bloody ‘at?’.
My life is reflected in my art as a series of ‘it seemed like a good idea at the time’ experiments, thus art is, to me, a celebration of life. Each completed piece is the fruition of a challenge.
Primary mediums are oils and oil pastels often moving beyond traditional colours to use roadside dust, genuine ochres etc. I seldom use a brush preferring more rudimentary tools such as window cleaners squeegees, cooking implements etc and am a constant rummager of hardware, cooking and bric-a-brac stores for mark makers.
Computer, sketchbook and camera are the instruments within my art reference laboratory”.
Quick Facts on Merv:
Home: Benalla, Victoria
Where would you most want to live and create/write etc? Benalla!
Comfort food: ‘I love frozen yoghurt icy poles’
Artistic Influences: Tom Roberts; Dennis Hopper; Geoffrey Smart; Cornelia Selover
Current reads/films/exhibitions attended: ‘I watched ‘Frida’, on the artist Frida Kahlo, last night’.
What are you working on at the moment? ‘A portrait of a family member’
What was the first work you exhibited publicaly or sold as an artist? ‘It was a long time ago. My mother was quite a well known artist, I think it was bought on the off chance I might follow in my mother’s footsteps. It was an oil painting of a New Guinea native looking through greenery…it was pretty awful really.’
How has your background/ background influenced your artwork/creativity ? ‘My background includes growing up on a farm; working as a builder and labourer; compiling the Canberra/Goulburn Telephone directory. I returned to school, then worked for the Post Office and in public service jobs including a stint as a draughtsman in PNG. After this I went to art school, then worked in industrial design and as a freelance writer and editor. I inherited my creativity from my mum, who was a prolific artist. I’m not really an urban painter. The fact that I like painting country, bush scenes comes from my farm background. The colour and openness gave me an astute feeling for colour. Colour mixing has always been intuitive for me. I love teaching art – I really do. I like community teaching, I’ve done lots of this in Sydney.’
What’s the best part of being an artist? ‘The meditation. When I get depressed it takes me to another world. It takes me to my daydream world. It’s meditative. Most paintings I do as a challenge, to prove I can do them, to experiment.’
What’s the worst part of being an artist? ‘It can be a challenge to my self esteem. I have needed to get out of the habit of comparing myself to other artists. Like swimmers who swim against their own times, I have to watch that my self esteem doesn’t go down by comparing myself to other artists. I’m fortunate that I don’t have to sell to live…’
What’s the best (or worst) advice you’ve received about your work? ‘Hard to say… I think the main thing has been the encouragement to keep going and keep experimenting’
What’s been the most significant moment in your artistic/creative career so far? ‘An invitation to exhibit and show my work in New York and since then a number of other overseas destinations. When I sell something, it’s a boost to my ego, if nothing else. When a workshop is going well, that really is a thrill…when a workshop sells out and people keep coming’’
What do you find most challenging about (your field of work) ….. ? ‘A fair question. Myself, I think. I find if I have a break it’s hard to get back into the flow of things. I’m renovating a house at the moment and have to force myself to go back to painting’.
When you’re struggling with a painting, where do you look for inspiration? ‘Often I’ll change the medium I’m using – change from oil to oil pastels. I’m always searching the internet for inspiration. I do a lot of digital art, most paintings are planned digitally, not photographically’.
Who do you picture as the ideal viewer/audience of your work? ‘I love teaching…my ideal audience is someone who is managing to get inspired to paint’
Whether creativity in different areas can be taught is often debated – what’s your view? ‘Anybody can be encouraged to be creative – some fall in to place more easily than others. We can’t all be Rembrandt. If the motivation is there, creativity can be brought out, as the human mind has a creative factor to it’.
Where and when do you prefer to work on your art? ‘I prefer to paint in a studio, but I also like plein air painting… Lately I’m all over the place. When I have access to a studio, I’ll work all night. Lately I work in the morning; snooze in the afternoon, go to work at night’
What do you listen to when you work? ‘These days, nothing. The deafer I get, the less noise I want. If I do listen to something, I play it over and over. One of my paintings was painted to the sounds of Meatloaf’s ‘Midnight at the Lost and Found’.
Do you buy your art supplies online, in an arts store, or both? ‘Both. I buy online, but the value of going to an art store is in the advice and range of art supplies. Most art stores have online stores.’
What’s your advice for someone wanting to be an artist in your field? ‘If you want to make a living as an artist, do a marketing degree! Experiment by yourself, go to community workshops, or if you have the opportunity, go to art school. This teaches you to be an artist, not just skills. Troll YouTube – it’s a universe in itself’.
When not painting , what do you like to do? ‘I read a lot; use computers; work on websites and watch television. I’m a gardener, too!’
If you weren’t making or supplementing your living by being an artist, what would you be doing instead? ‘I’d still be writing. I started writing as therapy as I’m dyslexic, but I just took off. I’d be writing, or a grey nomad, maybe.’
If you could go out to dinner with any artist, who would it be and why? ‘Dennis Hopper. His paintings feature a lot of people in situations – he has way of marrying people, emotions and locations in a wonderful way. The other is James Gurney, He teaches so much information in his blog and in his books.’
What’s the art work that’s had the most significant impact on your life and work or an artist– and why? ‘Artists like Tom Roberts. I like the Australian bush artists. I’ve always been interested in and affected by Geoffrey Smart. My side genres include steam punk.’
Do you have a philosophy for how and why you create? ‘No – not that I know of. It’s up to the beholder to decide’
At the beginning of the interview you said you are currently working on a portrait of a family member. What do you hope viewers will take away from this? ‘It’s in the eye of the beholder. I want to create an emotion, for them to see something that’s relevant to them, not to me’.
Merv was interviewed at Rambling Rose Café, Benalla on Tuesday January 9, 2018 by Bev Lee.
Merv has an open studio at NEA , exhibits at NEA and runs workshops including 'Make your own Oil Pastels' and 'Realistic Abstract'. . His work is currently featuring on the NEA website home page and on NEA's FB page., Merv is working towards an exhibition in Violet Town later this year.
You can check out Merv's recent work on his website www.mervynbeamishartist.com .
NEA;s Tim Bowtell is currently exhibiting work at Chocolate Lane
Pamella Francis from Chocolate Lane cafe in the lane near the Bridge in Bridge Street loves art. An active member of the Hay arts community before coming to Benalla, Pamella has created a unique 'chocoholics heaven' in a little lane next to the Commercial Hotel.
Late last year Pamella and NEA's Tim Bowtell developed the concept of a partnership between Choolate Lane and NEA which has resulted in an occasional program of exhibitions featuring NEA artists or artists recommended by NEA members.
Merv Beamish's Pop Up Exhibition commenced the exhibition program in mid December 2016, with Merv's warm, impressionistic oil pastels and acrylics perfect for a cafe environment and adding to the welcoming atmosphere at Chocolate Lane.
To add to the atmosphere during the Wall to Wall Festival, Adam Knapper was suggested to Pamela. Adam, who has strong links to the Molyullah area and NEA through his family, exhibited at Chocolate Lane from March 31st to May 13th.. Adam's engaging collection of quirky, affordable café art clearly drew upon his involvement in the graffiti art movement of the eighties. You can read Adam's bio here.
NEA's Tim Bowtell. is currently exhibiting work at Chocolate Lane. Check out Tim's paintings during Chocolate Lane's winter opening hours - Thursdays, Fridays and Saturday mornings.
**'The Occasional Blogger' is open for submissions by NEA members.
Send copy to firstname.lastname@example.org
A 'go to whoa' slide show of Merv's intriguing and practical 'Make your own oil pastels' demonstration and oil pastels workshop.
There is so much happening at NEA currently! Some happenings have warranted their own posts, so this post is a miscellany of snippets...
Kylie and Tim's 'Coffee is where the art is'... pop up cafe in the foyer gallery is a wonderful place to meet people Sam Bowtell (of the Bow N Tell Brothers and Killer Pig Productions') called by on Saturday morning. The Centre in Wangaratta, is continuing to publicise and distribute Killer Pigs' movie 'Slope' and is likely to rescreen it in Wangaratta at end of January, Sam and Jake are also planning to screen 'Slope' at rural cinemas across the north east over the coming months and looking towards crowd funding a DVD to be distributed to schools - a key audience. They are busy on a number of projects, including a feature film - already two and a half years in the making,
Sam and Lauren
The atmospheric courtyard outside the foyer gallery/cafe is now providing a terrific home for the colourful mosaic table which community members contributed to under Deb Dodd's guidance at the Maker's Mart festival during Wall to Wall Art last year.
Seamus, Tim Schloss and Hudson.
It seems it's the season for our artisans and members to immerse themselves in their own creative development, with Margaret Zaal 'excited beyond belief' to be going to a four day workshop in Geelong; Merilyn at a lifedrawing camp in Queensland and Seamus having just returned from an Irish folk music week near Coroit. Seamus came away from the week having written a poem, a song and having been the narrator for a documentary oriented slide show on the Irish Rebellion which engaged other Irish musicians in the camp in song. There must have been some wonderful jamming sessions.
Merv posted this portrait by his friend CJHaumann on our timeline recently - prefaced by 'See what NEA is doing to me!"
Lots has been happening in Merv's life this week, a birthday, buying a house in Benalla, becoming engaged to Irina and taking an oil pastels workshop at NEA at the weekend.
To finish... - 'Caught' - a photo of the Friday morning to afternoon handover - with Annie Longmuir and Janet Leith caught arriving to replace Lise Darcy and Elaine Murphy recenlty.
Annie, Janet, Lise and Elaine.
Inspired by Cornelia Selover, the Rite of Spring exhibition in November provided great impetus to the development of the Events Room Gallery. The new gallery adds an art filled ambience to meetings, workshops, games nights and celebrations held in the events room.. It was pleasing to see red dots gradually appearing during the exhibition. In early December Tim Bowtell's 'Rite of Spring' poster artwork and Deb Dodd's beautiful mosaic'd 'Fiesta for my Feathered Friends' bird bath (pictured) were both happily purchased and farewelled .
Music has reemerged at NEA over the past month or so, with the Bow N Tell Brothers playing in the Foyer Gallery at the Rite of Spring opening; Cobblestone, Kat and Rat, Michaela, and Erin featuring at NEA's Christmas Party and Carla and Tim Gardner's 25th wedding anniversary party recently, with Russell responding to an 'Open Mic' call up at the Christmas party singing lively sea shanties. Michaela has offered to become involved in planning future music events at NEA. Thanks, Michaela.
New digital speakers which can be tethered to phone play lists have led to enhanced music quality in NEA's gallery spaces.. And, of course, if you listen very carefully when he's about, Seamus can be heard quietly singing Irish, English and Scottish folk music..
The foyer gallery, a salon in which NEA members meet up and share ideas and plans, is being transformed again. A rather sculptural new coffee machine on a hand crafted mobile counter is now in place and an even more cafe like environment envisaged.
A perk of being at a meeting at NEA on Thursday was being able to taste the first coffees made with Tim and Kylie's new coffee machine !
NEA members who enjoy writing and contribute to publicity, Facebook, the website and submissions play an important role at NEA. Ruth Eisemann is now actively looking at the placement of NEA marketing in relation to the tourist industry and was recently involved with Tim Bowtell in resourcing a very readable and informative front page article about NEA in a tourism insert in the Wangaratta Chronicle. NEA artisans, Beechworth glass maker Leisa Clarke and Glenrowan felter Lise Darcy, who live and work in NEA's northern catchment area, are featured. If you haven't seen it, it's on the table in the Foyer Gallery.
Sustainability Team member Annalies describes enjoying the Water Kefir workshop held recently, with five participants providing the opportunity for her to pilot this workshop which will be repeated in 2017. Tim held his final Oil Painting workshop for 2016 on Sunday, while last week a 'Train the Trainer' program was run at NEA by Sally Wallace from Waminda. Waminda is offering this course to NEA artisans who may be anxious about conducting workshops at a reduced rate conditional upon agreement to offer a workshop through Waminda, Short notice meant that only one artisan was able to join the group and take up the reduced fee offer this time, however another Train the Train workshop is likely in 2017.
Planning for the Door of Hope Project is now well underway. Subject/Object/I - Self Mapping Through Art' with Edie Black and 'From Fibre to Felt' with Annie Longmuir are being offered from mid February to March through the Door of Hope project to people with a long term interest in arts and crafts who haven't had the opportunity, for various reasons, to have this realized. Fliers and other information will be available soon.
So much is happening .... but it soon will be time to slow down and focus on family and the festive season for a few days at least.
Then it will be January - and another burst of activity at NEA during the World Gliding Championships. Margaret Zaal has been working with great enthusasiasm on designing new workshop formats to be offered during January, including workshops with groups of three NEA artisans and new toy workshops with Tim Schloss, It seems that the gliding championships have inspired a new Schloss range to join Tim's Swords, Shields, Axes and Kelly Guns.
Evidence that Merv Beamish, whose Pop Up Art Show continues to the end of December at Chocolate Lane, has also been inspired by the upcoming gliding championships. is evident in these photos of a 'work in progress' in his upstairs studio.
Photos: Merv Beamish
**'The Occasional Blogger' is open for submissions by NEA members who may, from time to time, have a strong urge to write about their work or about NEA!. Send copy to email@example.com.
Merv's Pop-Up Arts Show at Chocolate Lane continues to the end of December.
The Chocolate Lane exhibition coincides with an exhibition including Merv and Irina's work at the New York gallery of their friend and 'curator extraordinaire', Basha Maryanska.
Irina described being 'beyond excited' that her work was in the window of Jadite Galleries in Times Square, 'A big thrill'.
Apparently this is the first time Merv and Irina haven't been in New York when their work is being exhibited. However they seem to be enjoying their 'Pop Up' involvement with Chocolate Lane, Benalla.
A new workshop with Mervyn Beamish on Sunday 15th January, 2.30 pm. Bookings essential.
Festival time at North East Artisans is here - with the Rite of Spring exhibition and the East End Street Party happening later today. There will be lots of activity in the events room, now a dual purpose second gallery space, with the opening of the Rite of Spring exhibition at NEA at 5 pm on Friday and the East End Street Party on outside. More news to come! Click on the poster image for a slide show of the Rite of Spring's poster collection.
Art shows are on in abundance, with the 2016 Benalla Festival Regional Art Show at Tatong organised by NEA member De Sales Turner and supported well by NEA artisans. This year Tim Bowtell won the acquisitional 'Best in Show' prize with his painting 'Chinese New Era' and Julie Guppy. 'Best Local Artist' with her painting.'Tall Trees'. Judges were Tony Flint and Shanlee Cleeland.. Speaking to de Sales, it seems Tim's painting will hang at different times in community locations. The Art Show at Tatong is open until Sunday 6th November.
Merv Beamish recently donated a painting as a fundraiser for the Benalla Shorts Film Festival. Merv's painting was won by Laurie Watters, pictured here with Tim Bowtell at the Cup Eve Picnic Party when her horse in the phantom cup call won the race. (I bought lots of tickets - hoping I'd take Merv's painiting home with me!)
While workshops have quietened down a little, the last week has seen a healthy lift in sales at NEA's Gift Shop and Gallery, including larger sales by artists who have been supporting NEA by exhibiting and taking studios. Good things can come to those who wait! At least one of our artisans in wood has received a commission which was also exciting to hear. We have very much enjoyed having Colin Robson's sculptures and bird nesting boxes in the gallery over the past year - Colin is taking a break for a while, but we are hopeful he will return soon.
It's interesting following up on activities of past and present NEA artisans. Karthika and Beth have taken their passions a step further recently - opening shops in picturesque Nunn Street - Karthika 'Good Vibes Store - Organic and Eco Products' and Beth 'Beth's doll house- toys for girls and boys'.
Many artisans are on facebook - with a link to their Facebook page through the Artisans Index. This came through Margaret Zaal's this week. Isn't it beautiful!
**'The Occasional Blogger' is open for submissions by NEA members who may, from time to time, have a strong urge to write about NEA for this column!.
Wall to Wall Benalla Festival
Benalla Street Art Map to 2017
Wots4Me Benalla Youth
Juddy Roller Wall to Wall
Benalla Art Gallery
Shepparton Art Museum
Goulburn and North East Arts Alliance (GANEAA)
Wangaratta Art Gallery
Benalla Camera Club
Broken River Potters
Broken River Painters
Table Top Games at NEA