Thursday 31 March 2011

Drawing, blogging and making friends

Customs house from the Brisbane River - Ink on paper-170mm x 120mm
© 2011 Carol Lee Beckx

When I started writing this blog back in August last year, I began as a complete novice, and had, in fact, only recently started reading other blogs. I didn’t know whether there would be anyone out there interested in what I had to say. Since then, I have learned a lot – and I’ve discovered that there are readers out there and that they are spread around the world.
So this is a big thank you to all of you in the USA, UK, Ireland, Malaysia, Russia, Canada and The Netherlands as well as the faithful readers in South Africa and my growing Australian audience. But I’m curious; I wonder why there was a sudden interest this week from all of you in Germany? I wonder if it's not a Google stats glitch - do tell - I'd love to hear from more of you.

In becoming familiar with the many art blogs out there I am so impressed by the discipline shown by so many. Daily posting, I realized, is not something that is accomplished easily. The PAD – Painting a Day movement also has numerous devotees – painting and posting is arduous. The challenge of coming up with something of value on a daily basis is daunting.
I know, I tried it for a while and then somehow something (oh yes - theBrisbane floods) threw me off stride and I lost momentum for painting something and posting each day. I content myself with knowing my limitations and try to post weekly. It’s a good idea to subscribe to email updates because there won’t be one every day. But – do click through to read these online to see the whole picture – and read the comments as well.
But this post is really about drawing. When the Queensland Art Gallery re-opened I went to see Lloyd Rees: Light and Life, an exhibition of drawings he did as a young man in Brisbane. The exhibition shows wonderful drawings done between 1917 and 1922 and includes many pages from his sketch book. These were done in preparation for highly finished work in ink of Brisbane landmark buildings, that Lloyd Rees was commissioned to do. However, I enjoy the quick spontaneous nature of the sketchbook pages – there are sections merely hinted at, other areas are rendered in more detail. There are also very delicate pencil drawings of landscapes, rock and trees where the natural forms take on almost human characteristics
Seeing this exhibition has prompted me to look for buildings to draw – and rekindled my resolve to do more daily sketching. Learning to draw is much like learning any other skill. Repetition and practice are key to improving confidence and skill. What needs to be remembered is that it’s the process that is important and not the product. I have started doing some pen drawings of buildings in the city.

Brisbane city high-rise Ink on paper 170nmm x 120mm
© 2011 Carol Lee Beckx

I find that if I use pen, immediately, I am forced to look more closely, observe the detail and think about where the line must go. If I use pencil there is such a huge temptation to scribble and cover careless drawing with smudgy detail.  The other factor is that if the drawing is a complete failure there is the difficulty in hiding the mistakes so you have to live with them (Of course you can resort to drastic measures and rip a page out!) This whole phobia we have about mistakes is such a hindrance. Mistakes help us learn. We often discover new solutions as we stumble through an error-packed life.
A couple of interesting links:
Daily painting here from Julian Merrow-Smith Postcard from Provence
and wonderful sketches here at Liz + Borrowmini


  1. Hi Carol, I've learnt a lot from this thanks. enjoyed reading it. Enjoy Brisbane. XXHermine

  2. Hi Hermine - thanks - I just love the fact that we can all keep in touch with old friends and make new ones and learn so much along the way.