John Beeman

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Learn more about John Beeman

b. 1926, Sydney

John Beeman is an artist whose subject matter has varied widely. Beginning his career studying at the Julian Ashton Art School, Sydney, The Slade School of Art, The Courtauld Institute and the Institute of Archaeology in London, Beeman honed his skills as an artist and an arts administrator.

Eventually after considerable experimentation, John simplified a technique based on a traditional gesso formula used in Europe just after the Renaissance. Starting with a gesso panel, the initial underpainting is developed, laying in tones in transparent oil colours. The advantage of this method is that it allows controlled, progressive application of paint by glazing and scumbling through to direct painting if desired. At no time during the process is critical drawing control lost. It also provides a sequence of steps, working towards the ultimate concept of the artist and is a method not recommended for the artist who feels the need for quick results.

His focus in subjects in recent years has been people and their environment. He portrays his subjects with keen observation and at times a sharp and subtle wit. John’s subjects can perhaps be best described as ‘the art of everyday life in Australia’ past and present. Restaurants, court rooms, funerals, weddings and rural life are just some of the diverse subjects that inspire John’s art and the characters he portrays are always represented with an elegant drama that provokes the viewer to think about the lives and thoughts of the subjects he portrays. His formal training ensures that he pays particular attention his construction of his work and his knowledge of contemporary art. He has been awarded many prizes for his work including the Port Macquarie Art Society Rio Art Carnival 1st Prize, Macquarie Award 1000 and On Broadway art Prize.