Beebe grew up on a farm in North Dakota, where she attended a one-room schoolhouse. “Each day in first grade, on my way to school, I passed by the blacksmith, pounding out plowshares with fire and hammer. This began my fascination with metal and jewelry, which I went on to study at the University of Minnesota.” As a child she fashioned dolls from clay she dug on the farm, made toy furniture and snow figures, and drew her brothers and sisters on the scarce paper her mother found for her. Her first real art classes were in college.
When she was in her early 50’s, Vogue magazine featured her jewelry, which was carried by ten galleries from Connecticut to California. One winter at the home she and her daughter, Susan, shared on Friendship Long Island, she fell and badly hurt her arm. She began painting in gouache while her arm healed. “I love gouache,” she says, “because of its brilliant colors, the mobility it allows, and its quickness to dry.”
Summer and fall on Friendship Long Island are devoted mostly to gardening, tending chickens, doing repairs and preparing for winter, all while living without plumbing or electricity. Winters on the island proved dangerous, so in winter Beebe finds a place to stay, either nearby or far away, where she can draw and paint. All the pieces in this show are still lifes in gouache, done in a variety of places: a village in Normandy, France; Costa Rica; Martha’s Vineyard; and Friendship, Maine.