Artist shares awakening

Kellie BalaamNarrogin Observer
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Mike Beckwith with one of his favourite paintings of WA's Denmark Bridge.Picture: Kellie Balaam
Camera IconMike Beckwith with one of his favourite paintings of WA's Denmark Bridge.Picture: Kellie Balaam

Narrogin artist Mike Beckwith celebrated the official opening of his exhibition Awakening with family and friends last Thursday night.

The exhibition is titled Awakening because of his appreciation of flora and fauna and the realisation of the possibility of losing the landscape because of human impact.

The Arts Narrogin office walls were covered in an array of Beckwith’s acrylic paintings, including his first landscape painting of the Great Southern Highway south of Beverley.

Beckwith's first landscape painting of the Great Southern Highway south of Beverley.Picture: Kellie Balaam/Narrogin Observer
Camera IconBeckwith's first landscape painting of the Great Southern Highway south of Beverley.Picture: Kellie Balaam/Narrogin Observer

Awakening is Beckwith’s first solo exhibition, 44 years after he first exhibited work at the Perth Concert Hall in 1976.

“I came up with the name for this exhibition eight days ago,” he said.

“I think it’s hard for an artist putting your work on display ... there’s some self-doubt — I like my work but will anyone else want it?”

Kookaburra and Horseshoe Falls in Tasmania.Picture: Kellie Balaam/Narrogin Observer
Camera IconKookaburra and Horseshoe Falls in Tasmania.Picture: Kellie Balaam/Narrogin Observer

Beckwith’s style of painting is realistic and intricate, recreating landscapes such as WA’s Denmark River and bridge, the Wagin Salt Lake, and a Moreton Bay fig.

The British-born artist spent a successful 10 years as a professional artist and photographer in the advertising and printing industry.

He moved to Narrogin in 1985, where he has since raised a family.

It was not until 2007 that he returned to painting on a regular basis, the bulk of his work being portraits painted on commission.

Swoop (Pink and Grey) painted in 2017.Picture: Kellie Balaam/Narrogin Observer
Camera IconSwoop (Pink and Grey) painted in 2017.Picture: Kellie Balaam/Narrogin Observer

More recently, Beckwith has painted a collection featuring South West landscapes and wildlife which, along with 20 portraits, can be seen in the exhibition until March 6.

Beckwith paints his landscapes from photos he has taken in his travels.

“I was introduced to photography with my first camera at the age of four and by time I turned 17, I was shooting weddings,” he said.

People interested in learning more about Beckwith and the stories behind his paintings can hear him speak at an artist floor talk on Saturday from 10am-12pm.

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