Filling the Canvas

Published 10:18 am Wednesday, March 11, 2009

CHESAPEAKE — To Larry Beuhring painting is just a hobby he got into 20 years ago that offers a challenge with each canvas.

But to Pam Murphy, branch manager at the Chesapeake Library, Beuhring’s nature scenes may be a way to inspire library patrons to expand their own horizons.

It was last fall when Murphy discovered Beuhring’s passion for painting, when the Chesapeake resident brought in his portfolio.

Email newsletter signup

“We thought the portfolio looked great,” Murphy said. “When he brought in the actual paintings, we at the branch thought, ‘this is wonderful. A man who lives a couple of blocks away can create these beautiful paintings.’”

That’s when Murphy asked if the library could display some of Beuhring’s work.

“I try to involve the community. We have a little cabinet where we have seasonal displays.”

There patrons who have collections such as figurines can put these things on exhibit. However, with Beuhring, Murphy has decided to cover the walls of the library with his paintings.

“The community response has been overwhelming,” Murphy said. “The patrons always ask who did them and how beautiful they are.”

And with the AARP offering free tax service once a week, the number coming into the library has grown.

“There are people who may never have an opportunity to see, may have come from a home background where they would not be exposed to art,” Murphy said.

Through these paintings, Murphy contends some may discover their untapped abilities.

“Hey, if you have a little ability, look at what you might develop,” she said. “The library is to communicate to patrons what they can do. You don’t have to let anyone hold you back, if you have the inclination to go in a direction.”

It was by accident that Beuhring, who is retired from International Nickel Co., got into painting. He was at his mother-in-law’s house when she was working on a landscape.

“She told me she had trouble putting the water in the painting.

“I started playing with it and thought, ‘I can do this,’” he recalled.

He went out and bought brushes and tube after tube of oils and started in, never fearing if he made a mistake.

“I have spread miles of paint since then,” Beuhring said. “You paint over your mistakes and do it over. I have done that for years.”

A completely self-taught artist, he specializes in landscapes.

“I do not do portraits. I like the nature scenes,” he said. “A lot of them I do just from things I’ve seen over time and put it together.”

Beuhring finds his hobby energizing, forcing him constantly to raise the creative bar.

“It is exciting. It is inspirational,” he said. “The accomplishment when you get it done. If it suits you, it inspires you to do something better.”