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Norman Bean DRAWINGS OF ITALY
Norman Bean was raised in El Paso, Texas, attended El Paso Public Schools through High School and then two years at the University of Texas at El Paso. Leaving El Paso in 1971, he wandered California, Arizona, Texas and Georgia and many places in between, finally settling in Austin, Texas in 1980.
Norman was fortunate to have parents who insisted on a rounded education of Music, Art and Academics. Norman’s mother, Rachel, was instrumental in guiding him toward opportunities for learning about creating art, making music and pursuing social interaction. Norman’s father, Harry, taught mechanical reasoning with real world application. They worked together on projects that challenged Norman to find the confidence to do fine, exacting work in the machine shop and garage. Fixing things, problem solving and a flair for esthetics became important tools for a productive life.
Grade school and high school provided many accomplished music and art teachers. From the first encounter with school and educators Norman was encouraged to express his thoughts and emotions in drawing, painting, sculpture and music. Public School instruction was reinforced with private music lessons at home and summer painting and drawing classes at the El Paso Museum of Art.
At the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), art classes brought together elements of abstract and realism. Various mediums and techniques became the basis of Norman's artistic endeavors. Art history brought an appreciation of what it takes to create living, breathing, dramatic contemporary works of art.
While Norman has always created drawings and paintings, after arriving in Austin, Texas, he focused on making a living restoring antique motorcycles, an art form in its own right. In his spare time Norman played keyboards in rock and roll bands, entertaining at music venues from 6th Street to Biker Bars and beyond, promoting music events with his artistic flyers and posters.
In 2008 a pivotal moment came during a 'Study Abroad' tour to Italy with the Texas State University Art Department. Norman's eyes were opened to graphite on paper as a fine art medium. Seeing and experiencing Renaissance art helped Norman to understand his own work in a new way. 2008 began new explorations into graphite techniques and subject matter. After studying Wassily Kandinsky’s “Point and Line to Plane,” Norman began to apply abstract principles to objective realism, effectively creating dramatic perspectives and unusual viewpoints that make his graphite on paper drawings appear almost photo realistic. Motorcycles, Italy and travel to other countries remain an important source of inspiration, as do the iconic Courthouses of Central Texas.
The people who purchased Norman’s early works gave him hope that his artistic expression would find a place in the contemporary world of fine art. His wife and art partner, Diane MacGregor, has been a guiding light, encouraging Norman to express himself in his art and to continue to create a body of work.
His recent drawings are created on 19” x 24” cream white 100lb vellum of light or medium tooth. Standard graphite pencils 2H through 12B are employed in creating the lights, darks and details. Various smudgers and kneaded erasers are used to create some of the textural effects with and against the tooth of the paper.