Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK
Beverley Healy grew up in Buckinghamshire, England, studied Fine Art in Coventry University and History of Art in Birmingham, before settling at 26 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She had some early success with her portraiture, but decided to mix her own work with a career in Art and Health. This involved creating Art for and with Hospital communities and included a 3 year Art and Health Research Project called the Dreams Project for which she gained an Arts Council Lottery grant and won the Blair L Sadler Healing Arts Award.
Happily combining work with raising her daughter, Beverley recently chose to refocus on her own painting. In 2011 she won the Anna Cheyne Award for small works who then acquired her painting for their permanent collection in Lisburn, NI and in 2016 received First Prize in the American Arts Awards for her portraiture. She exhibits regularly in the Annual selected Royal Ulster Academy Show, held in the Ulster Museum, Belfast. A number of portraits have been privately commissioned and her work has also sold to private collections across the UK and in Europe. She recently published her first book as Author and Illustrator – a devotional book called “Abraham’s Stars” based around a series of prayerful pastel paintings. She is about to embark on her first talks about the book in churches in the UK and Ireland.
I always loved to draw – and always drew people – in fact I was often asked to sketch various pop stars for my friends when I was at school and was happy to oblige! I moved into paint and I now focus on the play of light and colours on the face, using egg tempera on gesso board. I came to this medium in the final year of my Fine Art Degree and enjoy the freedom it gives to depict fine detail and its softness of colour. I work from a mixture of photographs and life – I like to know or meet my sitter to get a feel of their personality for myself and create initial sketches. I spend time with my images before I choose the right one, then draw my initial drawing on transfer paper which is then relayed to the board, as tempera gesso is sensitive and I do not want to muddy the colours or disturb the surface as far as I can help it. I seek to create a work that is not merely a likeness but a beautiful painting, a jewel to adorn the wall of a home. Work on my portraits is intense and time-consuming and often engages the perfectionist in me but I love seeing the face appear and finding the exact colour tones to portray the jewel-like beauty of the piece. I know if it is not working that soon it will and that gives the process an edge that can be scary but exhilarating!
I believe in the healing power of art. I paint portraits and imaginative pastels to bring more beauty and hope into the world.