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Norman Bean and Mary White: Max Grumbacher Gallery Featured Artists

The Max Grumbacher Gallery  is the place for artists to showcase, promote, and sell their original artwork and reproductions. The online, easy-to-use platform brings artists and artwork directly to fine art lovers and buyers. Two of these fine artists sat down with thalo to share their inspiration and views of the world via their artwork. Norman Bean (as seen in photo 1) grew up in Pennsylvania and currently lives in Austin, Texas, where he resides with his wife and partner Diane MacGregor, who is also an artist. Mary White (as seen in photo 2) lives in Utah where she paints and teaches art to fifth graders at a local elementary school.

thalo: Who/what inspired you to become an artist?

Norman Bean: My parents certainly were the primary movers. Mother was instrumental in giving me the opportunities to learn about crafts and application. From the first encounter with school teachers, I was encouraged to express myself…and mirror the world as I see it in drawing, painting, sculpture, and music. Projects that my father challenged me with gave me the confidence that I could do fine, exacting work in almost any field.  

Mary White: When I was 14 years old, my uncle brought my brothers, sister, [and me] to Salt Lake City, Utah. Coming from Texas and seeing the Mt. Olympus mountains for the first time was intimidating but beautiful. I always thought of myself as being fortunate to see the beauty of Utah and know that the beauty can be replicated in artwork for others to enjoy.

th: Norman, what attracts you to graphite on paper?

NB: I like the ease and direct utility of pencils, and the basic ways of smoothing, smudging, and moving and removing graphite to render an image. Graphite on paper, appearing to be a black and white medium, is actually all about greys. While graphite uses the visual shock of contrast to make a point, the subtle grey values make the details believable and offer up a shimmering quality that seems to mock realism (as seen in photos 3-4).

th: Mary, you use different mediums like oil on canvas and charcoal on paper. How do you decide which to use when you set out to create a new piece of art?

MW: The art is just created as I apply the paints and am caught in the moment of medium application. When I am drawing animals, I love charcoal on paper. DaVinci gray value scale is where I start with creating art.

Although oils are my favorite medium when plein air painting, in my studio, the new acrylic paints have taken over. I reach for them first, most of the time, to create my artwork.

th: Norman, the majority of your work on thalo is depicted through unusual points of view. What draws you to uncommon vantage points?

NB: The point of view is part of the inspiration. Often, I will wonder what something would look like when seen from above or below and how difficult it would be to produce the idea / image that is in my mind's eye on the flat surface of the paper.

In Italy, we spent a lot of time looking up; at the Grand Canyon, we spent a lot of time looking down. It was dramatic. I guess that the dramatic is part of my personality that I have let loose in my work.      

th: Mary, the majority of your artwork featured on thalo exhibits landscapes of the Midwest. What draws you to them?

MW: The beauty of the Midwest is something that I feel when I sit down to create a piece of artwork. I do have to feel what I am seeing to create the art. The cityscape painting of New York City, 9/11/2007 was such a painting.

For more information, including classes, showings, and art for purchase, visit Norman Bean and Mary White’s profile pages on thalo’s Max Grumbacher Art Gallery

Photo Credits:

Photo 1: Norman at Trevi Fountain © Diane MacGregor

Photo 2: Mary White, courtesy of Mary White

Photo 3: “1922 FN (Fabrique Nationale)” In –Progress © Norman Bean

Photo 4: Finished “1922 FN (Fabrique Nationale)” © Norman Bean