D e i d r e B e a n
I have always painted things that most interest me and, for the past 20 years, they have been botanical subjects in watercolour, most notably my series of Australian mangrove species. In recent years, after artist trips to Gallipoli and the Western Front, my attention has strayed somewhat. Now rifles, bullets, bugles and birds are not uncommon subjects. However, I have remained loyal to watercolour materials and techniques. I have a fascination for detail that is apparent in all my works. I am compelled to know my subjects intimately before I am able to represent them visually as two-dimensional images – optical illusions in paint.
Deirdre Bean studied Fine Art at Curtin University and, during that time, undertook a personal project researching Australia’s mangrove species. This became the subject of her PhD (Natural History Illustration) at the University of Newcastle from which she graduated in 2016.
Her first solo show, Australia’s mangroves: living on the edge, was held in Maitland Regional Gallery in 2016. Since that time, Deirdre has had solo exhibitions in Brisbane at Mitchell Fine Art (2019) and in Sydney at Stella Downer Fine Art (2019). Her botanical paintings have been exhibited in group shows in New York, Pittsburgh, Washington, London, New Zealand, and throughout Australia.
Major group exhibitions include: Your Friend the Enemy Gallipoli Centenary exhibition; Salient: Australian Artists at the Western Front; The Florilegium at the Royal Botanic Gardens (Sydney, London); Endemic Flora of the Hunter (Newcastle); The Waterhouse Prize for Natural History (Adelaide); Losing Paradise? endangered plants here and around the world (New York, Washington) The Hunt Institute of Botanical Documentation (Pittsburgh).
Bean has been awarded three Royal Horticultural Society, London, medals, notably one gold and two silver gilt, for her botanical watercolour paintings. She was awarded Highly Commended in New York on two occasions. Bean was selected for the Waterhouse Prize for Natural History twice and once has been chosen for the short-listed Canberra exhibition of the same name. Deirdre won the inaugural prize for botanical watercolour painting at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney
Her work is represented in public and private collections in Australia and overseas, including Parliament House, Canberra; the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London; Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney; The Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, Pittsburgh, USA; The Florilegium at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney; The Shirley Sherwood collection of botanical art, London.
She was commissioned to paint four stamps of the shrubs of Christmas Island for Australia Post in 2013.
Deirdre Bean was elected a member of the Australian Watercolour Institute in 2019.