Bearfoot Masters

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January 19, 2023 – January 26, 2023





Bearfoot Masters are old classic paintings that have been beared up. Bringing the teddy out in classic style in homage to these great paintings.

Read on for the Artist’s take on how it all came about...

A few years ago some neighborhood bears and I were talking whilst I was doing a quick sketch of Lydia to send to her mum for her birthday, and the subject came up of them not feeling fully appreciated — that there was more to most of them than just being a nursery adornment (though they were all in agreement that this was their primary role).

Quite a few of them felt they would like to show the world how cultured they could be, but were foxed as to how to change the public’s impression. I had been drawing and painting them for some time by then and felt myself to be one of the gang, so to speak, so I ventured to suggest that, whilst not exactly offering to get them into movies, I could perhaps help them obtain a slightly higher profile, by painting them as famous portraits and putting them on postcards, where their friends would see them and collect them and be impressed.

And that’s how it began. We chose some of the best-known ones and each bear had a studio photo-session, dressed in appropriate garb, and then I worked up pastel paintings from the photos, as close as possible to the artist’s style, given that I was only using chalks. Violet, a particularly forthright girl, was first out of the starting gate with Vermeer’s “Pearl Earring” and everyone crowded around to see how the session would go, relieved, I think, to find it wasn’t much more than a fun afternoon dressing up. After that they chose their own preferred characters and even did the hard work of gathering the props together. Et voilà, as they say in those parts.


Not all of the photo sessions went according to plan, particularly with some of the cubs. Wilfred, for example, small yet headstrong, and Hamish’s little brother, was adamant he should be included since Hamish was in one but he just couldn’t stay still for two minutes together and, equally, flatly refused to change out of the new dungarees his mother had just sewed for him, in order to put on the shiny blue satin suit for Gainsborough’ “Blue Boy”. However, he looked so perfect with his baker-boy cap and matching hobby horse that he’s squeaked into the line-up just as his own sweet self.

Another cub with no patience was Josephine-June. She was her grandfather’s shadow and social secretary, whether he needs one or not. She would lead him an exhausting but merry dance, in this particular case to the local dairy for home-made ice-cream, with no time to mess about dressing up as Millais’ “Cherry Ripe”, as her mother had fondly envisaged her.

Well, that’s who these neighborhood bears are. Just normal, everyday bears with big hearts and a twinkle in their eye.

And there’s more coming along all the time. Frida Kalho, Munch and Vincent have all had their photo-shoots, with Tamara, Leonardo, Klimt and Rockwell elbowing each other to get a booking.

Bless you Bears. You are more needed and loved than you would believe possible and it’s been a great privilege to be the one to draw you. You have borne with us through many a tear and heartache and you deserve all the acclaim you can get. I hope I’ve helped a little.

Love, from the heart, from your great admirer and friend, P.M.

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