I'm Beth McFarland and I live in Baden Wurttemberg in Germany, where I have been teaching English to non-native speakers for over 20 years and have coached and encouraged people from all backgrounds to use and enjoy their English.
I’m interested in how people create stories. It’s part of the human state to see patterns or resonances and to create a narrative given a few basics. I like to put two things together and invite the observerto slow down, enter the space between the two components and enjoy creating his or her own narrative explanation.Some of my work is based on the principles of the Japanese haiku poetry form. I have especially concentrated on the creation of pieces combining a haiku poem with an image. The resulting artwork is known as a haiga. In this case, the image should not directly illustrate the haiku, but be connected in some way that, again, invites the reader to enter a space and ponder any resonances that arise.
Often though, I want to break the traditional haiga rules, and explore what else is possible.
Sometimes words shout too loudly if they are clearly visible. To an English speaker, English words
don’t look as elegant as Japanese. So I often hide my text within the image. Other times, I decide to use ‘your words, not mine’. This is what I’ve done in the portrait series. I’ve drawn people in the act of speaking and then added their own words to the image.
‘Your words not mine’ is also a maxim I use when coaching people’s written and spoken English skills. I thrive on enabling people to express their own individual narrative in a non-native language. My painting influences are many and varied and include Mark Shields (whose portraiture classes I attended in the 90s), Zhu Da and Marlene Dumas.
For my CV in detail, follow the link.