For Richard Bean, a magnifying glass is his paintbrush and sunlight is his palette. Mr. Bean is an artist in Verdun who draws in a way you’ve probably never imagined. He uses sunlight to burn his drawings into wood pieces with a magnifying glass.
An average piece takes him approximately eight 7-8 hour days to create. We were lucky to watch him “burn” one day. Sitting on a park bench, with his sunglasses on, he focuses the magnifying glass on a spot in the wood and gets the light to catch it just right. He moves the glass carefully to draw a line and line after line, he creates picture after incredible picture. Richard Bean is truly an original artist. Yet, he draws inspiration from Verdun. As he walks though the streets and looks up toward the trees, he sees the shapes and outlines of his next drawings.
Mr. Bean’s art is also inspired by his own ideas of what he would like to see around him. “When I draw, I’m taking something from the back of my mind that I want to see in front of me”. By virtue of bringing his ideas to life, we get to watch him draw the world around us. His art is a new lens we can view Verdun through.
Mr. Bean has been making art for over 50 years and doesn’t intend on stopping any time soon. “When people ask me what kind of art I do, I just reply, “I do art - Any art”…just leave me a nail and I’ll scratch a drawing in the wall”. In reality, he doesn’t need much more than his magnifying glass to create something beautiful. Even the sun watches in awe and shines more brightly when he’s working.
This is an excerpt from The Verdun Stories Project set to be jointly published by Suspicious Fish and Literacy Quebec in February 2019.