Bea Roche

We will all remember Bea Roche who sadly passed away last week in our own ways. She was an outstanding member of the Art Society for more years than many of us can recall.

I have asked Tony Prince, a Society Life Member as was Bea, to give us some recollections of Bea, and I post these thoughts here:

Bea Roche. One can’t help thinking that Bea & The Hornsby Art Society are synonymous. I can’t remember a time when she was not a participating member. Prolific, determined, adventurous are just three of the terms I would use to describe Bea, but there are many more, such as cheeky, innovative, energetic, giving & enthusiastic. Bea also had a talent for getting herself involved in funny situations & it is my privilege to mention just a few.

For example….Calling on the Hanging Team to help her re-hang curtains in her lounge room; but not just anywhere. Try over the staircase leading to her downstairs area: no way could we use a ladder to reach the curtain rod, so Paul Bicknell, a HT stalwart, had to stand on the banister handrail with one foot & step across a meter or so of unforgiving stairs to put the other on the windowsill while stretching up as far as he could to replace the curtain rod. Meanwhile, Bea was giving instructions not to fall!

Another memory : A demo night at the ‘old’ gallery with well known artist Julie Simmons painting a lovely townscape & showing us how to do telephone wires with one sweep of the brush. Bea, of course made sure she didn’t miss anything by sitting so close to the artist she was almost on her lap!

Or a visit to a glass work artist’s studio in Glenorie organised by Jan Martin, to watch glass slumping in progress. I had been instructed to smash a large sheet of glass with a sledgehammer to create all the bits needed for the next stage of the process. Bea proceeded to scramble around to pick up the left-overs for her jewellery pieces, saying “she won’t mind if I take a few bits, will she?”

Adventurous & enthusiastic? Yes indeed! Watercolourist, Yupo paper user, prolific card producer & jewellery maker (dare I mention muffin cook & fudge creator!). Trish & I enjoyed helping Bea set up her exhibits at several ‘Wheel & Weft’ exhibitions in recent years; the last one being only a couple of weeks ago where she sold one hundred & fifty cards & two paintings: not bad for a Lady of almost 99 years (and yes; she handed out delicious cinnamon muffins as a thank you!)

On a more formal note, Bea, who was a Life Member served on the HAS Committee for some years & was a regular participant in a painting group on Tuesday mornings. Until the last couple of years Bea rarely missed an HAS exhibition opening night, but mobility issues became a problem as they inevitably do for many of us who grace this earth for so many years. Our loss might be St. Peter’s gain, but on the plus side there are so many memories of this truly wonderful Lady & we are all richer for having them to draw on.

Happy painting Bea!