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Bernie is an artist who lives on the Sunshine Coast. She is inspired by the natural beauty that surrounds her in everyday life. Bernie paints out of her art studio set in lush rainforest and also enjoys plein-air painting on the coastline and in the Sunshine Hinterland.
Her personal style reflects realism and romantic impressionism, painting subjects and sceneries she feels a connection to. Oils, acrylic, watercolour and charcoal are her favourite mediums, to capture the essence of a scene she will also play in mixed media. Bernie is mindful when mixing colours and directing variation in light so as to create mood and atmosphere.
Born in 1962 in Rugby England, Bernadette was three when her family immigrated to Australia. As a very young girl, two significant people stimulated her love for painting. Her father Frances McMahon, an oil painter who used unorthodox methods to paint portraits and biblical scenes and her Aunt Tess painting nostalgic English landscapes. Bernie’s early education was traditional, and she remembers transforming many mundane writing tasks into colourful illustrations demonstrating her learning.
From 1980 – 1992 Bernie, her husband and three children lived in Queensland while extensively travelling throughout Australia’s diverse landscapes, the subjects of many future paintings. Living in Toowoomba was of influential importance in Bernie’s artistic career. Predominantly self-taught she became a recognised hand-building sculpture artist who enjoyed teaching pottery classes while gaining several commissions serving local, interstate and international clients.
In 2001, Bernie completed a Bachelor of Education receiving a High Distinction for Visual Arts. This was a turning point in her life. Her teaching career began and she dedicated time each week to developing her artistic practice. Bernie has been teaching since 2001 encouraging students, especially reluctant writers to initially create visual images to express their ideas, knowledge and understandings. With her father’s passing in 2017, Bernie honours her father by dedicating time to mastering skills and techniques in oil painting while exploring impasto techniques and playing with palette knife strokes in her artworks.
An avid traveller, visiting 23 countries Bernie keeps memories alive and shares what she has seen with others by painting snippets of everyday lifestyles and picturesque landscapes. Bernie creates a narrative in every painting, offering discrete interpretations to the observer. Her intent is to arouse sensations and entice her audience. “I want to touch people with my art.” Vincent van Gogh. Bernie admires the practices of landscape artists, specifically Vincent van Gogh, John Constable and Claude Monet.
For over 30 years Bernie’s has been creating art from the heart. Her undertaking is to make a positive difference in people’s lives whether this is through her paintings or by stimulating creativity in her classes and workshops.
Bernie has acquired commissions from local, interstate and overseas and exhibits her art in Brisbane and on the Sunshine Coast.
2001 High Distinction Griffith University Mt Gravatt, East Brisbane.
2017 Goodlife Community Art Exhibition, Buderim, Sunshine Coast.
2018 Goodlife Community Art Exhibition, Buderim, Sunshine Coast.
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