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Client Profile: Brushwood Studios
by Seamus Parfrey


In the 1970’s the Mullers, second and third generation South Africans of Irish, English, Swiss and German descent, inhabited a remote and beautiful rift valley in the Western Transvaal in South Africa where Max and Anne Muller, who had two children Etienne and Jo-Anne, were running an adventure camp (Sun Valley) for city children.

They also assisted illegally with the education of young black children at primary level from the surrounding farms who were without education. This attracted the attention of the Bureau of State Security.

After the Soweto massacre of unarmed people by the South African authorities, the Mullers decided that they could no longer continue to live in an apartheid system and so they left South Africa in disgust and settled in Ireland in 1977 where they were able to obtain Irish citizenship due to Max’s grandmother being a native of Glengarriff, Co. Cork.

They eventually settled in Sneem, Co. Kerry and after 6 months Etienne persuaded his teenage sweetheart Pam to join him. They celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary in August 2008. Jo-Anne married Gary Yelen in 1986 after spending some time in Australia.

In Ireland the Mullers’ artistic talents developed and flowered in an increasingly liberal environment.


Anne (M.A. Muller) who previously painted in oils found that the climate and atmosphere in Kerry was drawing her more and more into the medium of watercolour in ever brighter and more vibrant colours. See her beautiful work at:

In addition to the permanent display in her own gallery Anne, now 73, has exhibited extensively within Ireland and internationally. She has sold hundreds of paintings in oil, pastel and watercolour. She hangs in the California collection of Revlon USA.

Foreign exhibitions between 1980 and 2000:

French Masterpieces Inc. ----------------        Washington D.C.

Jan Michael Gallery ----------------------        Minneapolis

Concept Art Gallery ----------------------      Pittsburgh

Marianne Felger Galerie -----------------      Mossingen

City Galerie --------------------------------         Augsburg

Mulenbusch Galerie ----------------------      Dusseldorf

Galerie Palette 74 -------------------------        Dusseldorf

Galloway Gallery -------------------------         Brisbane

Olinda Gallery -----------------------------         Melbourne

Lee Jean Gillis Gallery -------------------         Ann Arbour



Meanwhile Jo-Anne began to paint in oils with a style that is so distinctive that after an evolution of 28 years it has become a known genre in its own right – Jo-ism as labelled by a patron. Her work is instantly recognisable due to its unique style which appeals on many levels.

She has studied colours and their relationships, complements and contrasts and her artistic philosophy is to paint with vital and vivid colour, yet still allow the tones and hues to live harmoniously together on the canvas.

Jo-Anne has recently consolidated a new style – Thruism - which she had been experimenting with for some time. The attached scene of Kenmare shows various town images and streets layered on each other in extravagant colour which you can see through. These paintings are quickly becoming collectors’ items and they must really be seen to be believed. (

Jo-Anne's work hangs in private collections all over the western world and the middle east, the most prominent being the Anne Stevens Collection (Ford USA).   Her paintings are owned by members of the Saudi royal family, and she has recently been added to the great collection of art works in the castle of the Zu Luvenstein family where she hangs in the company of old and modern masters.

Although it pleases her that her paintings grace some major portfolio investment collections, Jo-Anne takes far more pleasure in knowing that her paintings hang in numerous ordinary houses around the world.

Some foreign exhibition history

Concept Art  Gallery -------------------          Pittsburgh

Ariel Gallery -----------------------------            Queensland

Sherbrooke Gallery ---------------------          Melbourne

Olinda Gallery ---------------------------          Melbourne

City Gallerie -----------------------------            Augsburg

Galloway Galleries ---------------------            Brisbane

William Vincent Fine Art --------------          Santa Fe

Lee Jean Gillis Gallery -----------------           Ann Arbour



Etienne is busy painting, sculpting in wood and builds the most beautiful kayaks which are a work of art in their own right.  You can see them on his own website



Pam works with cotton, silk and linen batiks using hot wax and dyes inspired by the forest walks, coastal inlets and the lush flora, insect and birdlife in Kerry. She has exhibited widely in Ireland, Germany and Australia and is a member of the Batik Guild. You can see her work at


In 2006 Brushwood studios appeared on the Nationwide programme on RTE.

The grandchildren Michael and Diana (Etienne and Pam’s children) and Liam and Andy (Jo-Anne’s children) also have the artistic genes in music, painting and writing prose and poetry. Diana’s work can be seen at

Their studio and house is located in Parknasilla Woods with the entrance road approximately 200 yards on the Kenmare side of Parknasilla Golf Club.  I would advise anybody who is in the neighbourhood to pay them a visit as their gallery has a unique relaxed and non commercial atmosphere with fresh coffee always on hand.  A visit to these unique artists with their beautiful fine art in all its glorious colour and perfection will make your trip to Kerry very worthwhile and if you buy a painting it will brighten up your home and life.  Highly recommended.

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