It was made clear to me growing up in Wichita, Kansas in the USA, that there was no real future in music and art. So, sensibly, I studied science at University, followed by equally sensible careers including construction project management in Kansas.
When my children were born I resumed drawing, working exclusively with coloured pencil and graphite.
Always interested in people and faces I was drawn to portraiture.
Shifting to New Zealand
I brought my two children with me to New Zealand in 2001 to join my new Kiwi husband, Bill. We decided that I would mother our blended family of seven and work for the first time as a full-time artist.
Mentors and Influencers
I am profoundly grateful for the influence that the late Allie Eagle, friend and mentor, continues to have on my practice. Peter and Jessica Crothall, founders of Chrysalis Seed Trust, introduced us as part of their work in Aotearoa New Zealand. The aim of the trust was to help reduce the isolation felt by numerous contemporary Christian artists who often found the church misunderstood their art, whilst the art world did not understand faith.
Exhibitions and Artist Groups
Noble People Treasure Land, and Ephemeral Perception were my principal solo shows. I cofounded Great South Artists’ Network along with jewellery artist Anna Claire Thompson. A highlight of the many events created was to host Allie Eagle in a well-attended weekend at Southland Museum and Art Gallery.
Out of Hand, the 2012 exhibition at Southland Museum and Art Gallery, showcased work by Anna Claire and me.
Buying a Picture Framing Business
My husband and I thought it was a good idea to buy a picture framing business in November 2012. This effectively pushed the pause on creating art because I felt I’d better concentrate on learning to run a business. We chose to close shop in 2019 after nearly seven years.
COVID, YouTube and Abstraction
When COVID came, I decided it to be a good time to launch my YouTube Channel, Beverly Claridge, pumping out 32 weekly episodes.
Then I had to take a break. A big one, in fact. You can read more about this by clicking, The Importance of Pushing the Pause Button.
It proved to be a pivotal point for me. The time in the car alone with my thoughts gave me ample time to reflect on where to from here. I had to change my approach to my arts practice. It was time to get outside my comfort zone.
From there I took part in the 2021 Dunedin Art Show, the ILT Art Awards exhibition and the Queenstown Recycle to Upcycle show.
While my current studio work is decidedly biased towards abstraction in this season of my practice, I still love drawing. I think drawing consists of one-half discipline and the other half mystery–the x-factor–or crucial spark that each individual contributes to their work. Click here to see some of my abstract works. I’d be delighted to have one of these works hanging in your home. They come professionally framed, ready to hang on your wall. Shipping is included in the price if you live in New Zealand.
My hope is that my journey into abstraction should enhance the mystery. However, the discipline—the hard-won ability to draw the human form—I want to continue mastery of that. This is why I will continue to create Charles Bargue videos.
I believe copying the Charles Bargue plates frees me to spend the remainder of my studio time exploring abstraction to my heart’s delight.
Except for a brief period of preparing for extensive renovations of my home, I post nearly daily on Instagram and frequently on my Facebook artist page. Be sure to check out my blog, Creating Art Around Life to learn more.