Vale Bernhardine Mueller
To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else.
Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)
Bernhardine Mueller, who passed away in December 2019, is fondly remembered by the printmaking community as an inspirational artist, generous teacher, colleague and dear friend. She had the ability to inspire and nurture creativity in others while pursuing her own artistic journey. Each of her students received individual attention and art colleagues knew she was always available as a friendly, supportive listener. Bernhardine was a friend to so many people in numerous printmaking areas.
Bernhardine established the printmaking studio at Ku Ring Gai Art Centre and Lane Cove Centre House and taught at both for many years. As one of her students at KAC in 1990, I(Karen)was immediately enveloped in the warm, friendly atmosphere she created. Many of those students became lifelong friends of Bernhardine. She was very involved in Lane Cove Art Society winning many awards from there and other competitions for her prints, miniatures and artist books.
Bernhardine also held numerous workshops throughout NSW and Queensland, in particular Gunnedah and Mitchell School of Arts, Bathurst. These workshops introduced students to printmaking and became the foundation for burgeoning art careers. For many years Bernhardine enjoyed a creative partnership with teachers and secondary school students in the art studios at Masada College, one of whom was chosen for HSC Art Express exhibition.
As a long term member of Sydney Printmakers, Bernhardine instigated and participated in many exhibitions. She always welcomed and supported new members. Similarly, Bernhardine was a long time, loved member of The Australian Society of Miniature Art. Her dedication to printmaking endured even as she became increasingly unwell. Bernhardine curated an exhibition at Orange Regional Gallery in 2018 with a group of fellow printmaker colleagues connected by their use of Richard Swinburne’s etching presses. She continued to show her work in Sydney Printmakers and other group shows into 2019.
Bernhardine was a printmakers’ printmaker. Experimenting with the technique, over printing with multiple blocks, reprinting the same plate many times in different colours, collaging, cropping, hand-colouring, for ever on the search for the best result for that particular print. Her wit, humour and purposeful use of mixed metaphors for dramatic effect were very funny. This humour and love of words came out in her miniature etchings, playing on words, sayings and gently poking fun at people, society and art.
Bernhardine shared a love of Australian flora and fauna with me (Denise). This constant source of inspiration, in particular a love of birds, meant we exchanged sightings on Brush Turkey behaviour, Currawong antics, Magpie carols and the amazing character of the White Winged Choughs at her beloved son Michael’s place in the Capertee Valley.
It was an honour to know Bernhardine. Her life was full and creative but she always had time for her many friends. She seemed to know when someone needed encouragement or some words of wisdom. We will miss her but her light will shine on through all those she inspired.