Don Beere grew up in an artistic household. His mother always had a painting in process and talked to her children about what she was doing. She worked in several mediums: oils, acrylics, watercolors and sculpting. She and six other artists ran a gallery. When he was a teenager in the early 1960s, she started the San Dieguito Art Guild in San Diego County. During those teenage years, Don accompanied her to art shows and art museums where she critiqued what they were viewing. At that time, Don had no interest in art but obviously absorbed her lessons. His sister, Susan Beere (www.susanbeere.com) also learned from their mother and has been a professional artist her whole life.
When he was in his 20s, Don unsuccessfully tried his hand at drawing and concluded he could never be an artist. However, in his 40s, Don discovered his love of photography, and, in particular, his eye for composition. Photography became a medium through which he could express his artistic bent. Other than what he learned from his mother, Don developed his skills naturalistically.
In the 1990s, while living in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, Don’s photographs were juried into shows and were included in numerous local art shows. Don’s subject matter, then, was exclusively nature, and his love of nature comes through in those pieces. He later expanded his work to include other subject matter.
The thirty-two photographs displayed here fall into four groups: nature, abstract, “Reflections,” and other. Of note are the photographs titled “Reflections.” Don and his wife Carole were moving from Minneapolis in 2001. On an early, sunny morning in late July, she suggested he photograph the downtown area where they had lived for two years. Most of the photographs Don took that morning are reflections in the windows of the downtown skyscrapers, titled here as “Reflections.” [Commentary about these photos is linked to specific pieces.] This series, which actually includes more than forty photographs, marked a significant transition in Don’s approach to photography. He had already been moving toward abstract photography and this series solidified that change. “These photographs taught me the principles of abstract photography,” he says.
Don has a diverse academic background with bachelor’s degrees in physics and philosophy, a master’s degree in experimental psychology and a doctorate in clinical psychology. He was a psychology professor for 29 years at Central Michigan University where he trained doctoral students. As well, he had a clinical practice for 42 years, the last 13 years having a full-time solo practice. He was internationally known for his work on trauma, dissociation, and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). He retired in 2013, and he and his wife moved to St. Louis since their daughter lives here. Ironically, his mother, Mary-Sue (Susan) Shallcross Beere, was born in Kirkwood. In 2019, he will publish his first novel, Blue Sky, Deadly Secrets, a psychological thriller. He has been learning, practicing and teaching Tai Chi for 45 years and currently teaches at the Ethical Society. His website is www.donaldbeere.com
His artist reception will be Sunday, May 5, 12:30 to 2:30.