Geraldton artist Helen Beard punts on Swiss exposure

Francesca MannGeraldton Guardian
Helen Beard works on a watercolour painting at home in her studio.
Camera IconHelen Beard works on a watercolour painting at home in her studio. Credit: Francesca Mann/Picture: Francesca Mann, Francesca Mann The Geraldton Guardian

When Geraldton artist Helen Beard received an email inviting her to exhibit in an art show in Switzerland, she thought it was too good to be true.

With the invitation promising international exposure for a small fee, alarm bells went off in Beard’s head: “I thought it was a scam”.

But the artist decided to risk it and submit six of her paintings, which showcase different elements of Geraldton and the Mid West.

Still not sure if the exhibition was legitimate, Beard booked flights to Switzerland, via the Greek Islands, to attend last month’s Artbox.Project Zurich 1.0 exhibition at the Swiss Art Expo.

“I still wanted to go to make sure it’s bona fide, and I wanted a holiday,” she said with a laugh.

“It was really cool; they had an aisle of screens back-to-back, which was where my artwork was displayed.

“I’d supplied information about what the paintings were of, such as wildflowers in the Mid West, Kalbarri. Gives Geraldton a bit of exposure, which is good.

“What was so great about it was I could send my art (digitally) and didn’t have to take the physical art, which would be a nightmare.”

Having spent a few days surrounded by contemporary and abstract art, Beard has come back to Geraldton overflowing with ideas.

Once an avid painter of seascapes, the 70-year-old has started experimenting with ink, watercolours, oil and wax.

“I look at my paintings and go, ‘I don’t want to paint like that any more’,” she said.

“Now I’ve got paint and ink running everywhere, I love it.

“When you’re not in full control and you’re going all crazy, that’s when genius happens — it’s magic. I just want to start fresh ... get myself in the artist head ... and see what will pop up.”

Beard has since received an invitation to Artbox Project’s next exhibition, held in Miami from December 2 to 8.

The artist said she would definitely enter the exhibition, but probably would not travel halfway around the world for the show.

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