A Vibrant Life on Exhibition

Still Life Painting by Beverley Budgen
'Paradiso' (Detail. 2008) by Beverely Budgen will be on display at Sylvia Ditchburn Fine Art Gallery from 13 April to 13 May 2018.

A bright and eclectic collection of Interior still life paintings by highly decorated artist Beverley Budgen will transport art-lovers and home-decorators back to a simpler time when they appear in Beverley’s exhibition A Vibrant Life: interiors, landscapes, seascapes this April.

The 80-year-old artist has been painting since she was six and has devoted her life to capturing landscapes, seascapes and interiors in her own unique style, while also nurturing future generations of artists as a teacher and tutor.

“My parents and grandparents must have recognised that there was something in there that should be promoted, so I had a very fortunate childhood,” said Beverley of her early start, which saw her awarded a Sunday Mail Art Prize at 16 years old.

“I remember jumping up and down in my mother’s lounge room – she’d had a phone call to say they wanted me to go into the city and be photographed because I’d won the senior open prize. I can still recall the feeling! That particular painting is now part of the collection at State Library of Queensland.

By her early 30s Beverley was lecturing at the College of Arts at Griffith University and then with the Flying Arts School. Between it all, Beverley had time to travel and work on her own practice, compiling many of the pieces in the A Vibrant Life exhibition.

'Curve of the Bridge' by Beverley Budgen
‘ Curve of the Bridge’, a seascape painting by Beverley Budgen will be on display at Sylvia Ditchburn Fine Art Gallery, Townsville.

Beverley said her work was inspired by her travels overseas, the beauty of ordinary objects and her own memories.

“Sometimes I do paint from my own photographs, but never, never from anyone else’s,” Beverley said of her methods.

“And that was something I was teaching my students – you just can’t paint from someone else’s photograph. It hasn’t attracted you to zero in on precisely what you’re looking at, it’s really the wrong thing to do, and many people don’t get the range of tones correct [when painting from a photo] and I can pick if a paintings been done from photograph no trouble at all, because it’ll have too much black in it, that is for sure!”

Many of Beverley’s pieces evolve from quick impromptu sketches into something more carefully planned over time.

“I’ve got masses of drawings here in books that I carry when I travel and that’s basically how I work. When you look at something it speaks to you and it says ‘that’s a painting’. Then you really have to do something about it. You have to sit down, and take details of sorts. That’s not as easy these days, sadly it’s nowhere near as safe to sit anywhere alone anymore, because your attention is so fixed on what you’re doing, you’re not as aware of who is around you – unless you’re in groups of friends. I spent many many trips sitting there drawing by myself, but I’m not so sure I would do it now.”

Many of the Interior pieces in Beverley’s latest exhibition are drawn from Beverley’s childhood memories growing up in a home overlooking the Brisbane River.

“My mother was very fond of Shelley and she had tea sets and dinner sets and I can remember morning teas that she’d put on for her friends,” recalls Beverley.

‘The silver sugar basin’ was inspired by artist Beverley Budgen’s memories of her mother’s tea parties

“Mum lived to 99-years and she passed all her wonderful china and cutlery and you-name-it on to me. There’s one [painting] that will be in the exhibition, and it’s of a silver sugar bowl, which I think was a wedding present of my mother’s and I always loved it and I can remember it on the table for breakfast growing up. There’s things like that and my father’s sailing trophies and other things I’ve collected and that are around me and become part of the design.”

Beverley is enamoured with art’s ability to render viewers speechless.

“If you look at the paintings of very auspicious artists – the shapes, and colours, and tones, and designs all interact perfectly, and they create a resonance or a vibration that comes out and attracts your attention. The vibrations come off the surface of the painting and nourish your heart,” she says.

“It’s a beautiful thing, if you can as an artist create that moment for someone whereby they feel at peace with themselves and their heart is being nourished. For goodness sake, it’s a wonderful thing.”

A Vibrant Life: interiors, landscapes, seascapes opens at Sylvia Ditchburn Fine Art Gallery on Friday, 13 April and runs until 13 May 2018.

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