Ballybofey/Gweedore artist Bernie Anderson has been taking a trip down memory lane after being shortlisted in an art competition by the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland.

Bernie, a retired mental health nurse, turned to familiar themes when she submitted an entry to the prestigious competition during the summer.

She was over the moon to have her ‘A Cool Breath of Air’ painting chosen for a curated collection of visual artworks addressing the theme Climate and Health. The exhibition opened at No. 6 Kildare Street on Monday.

Bernie is now in the running for a public choice award and voting is open HERE until the 10th of November.

Bernie Anderson and her partner Dominick Conway at the opening of the RCPI’s Art Exhibition.Her painting is titled ‘A Cool Breath of Air’

Bernie says it was a real honour to see her art showcased among the national finalists.

“I was a psychiatric nurse myself so it was a very interesting topic to me,” she said.

Bernie retired as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in the Recovery Team in the Willows two years ago. She is now a full-time artist and recently opened a gallery at her home in Ballybofey, viewable by appointment.

Bernie Anderson’s home gallery

Bernie’s shortlisted painting is an abstract piece created with refreshing blue alcohol ink.

The colour blue is often associated with calmness, serenity and the natural world, so it can be a great choice to represent breath, respiration and the impact of climate change on health. It is a colour that can evoke a sense of connection to nature and the environment. 

Bernie’s painting captures the feeling of fresh air, the act of inhaling and exhaling by using a technique of creating light and wispy effects from the inks. She sets out to convey a powerful and important message. 

Bernie Anderson – A Cool Breath of Air

Bernie Anderson at the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland Exhibition launch

Bernie Anderson first fell in love with art as a child in London. Born in the UK to a mother from Co Cavan and father from Co Donegal, she won a competition in the Borough of Brent at the age of 8 years old where she  painted her favourite muse, horses. 

She studied art as a leaving cert subject and then left it behind when she commenced her career as a mental health nurse for 38 years. She finally returned to art and painting in 2000 when she moved back to Donegal and found herself attending art classes again, when possible, between work and rearing her two children. She found painting very therapeutic and was an antidote to the stress of her career. Her dream was to be able to paint full time, which she realised in 2021 when she established herself as a professional artist. 

Bernie was selected for the Derek Hill exhibition at the Glebe Gallery 2014 and 2018. Placed 2nd in Alcohol ink Competition Montana USA 2017.

Her artwork is published in “Treasure Each Voice ” book 2005, Artists Eye on Kerry 2023, and she has participated in many group exhibitions.

You can follow her on social media at:   
Facebook  @BernieAndersonArtwork
Instagram @BernieAndersonArtist