Thursday, 12 May 2011

An artist's travels in Australia

Two Gold Coast Galleries
When I decided to move to Australia it was with the certain knowledge that I liked the country (at least the part where I would be living) I liked the people and I felt that I would be happy living there.
That said, most of this vast country is unknown to me – and it’s a huge undertaking to get to know even a small part of it.
A few weeks ago I went on a trip down to the Gold Coast. My only previous connection with this area was that a portrait subject of mine, Jordy Smith, a world champion surfer, competes in numerous surfing competitions there.
It’s a holiday destination. It’s a true surfer’s paradise with a laid back attitude to match. However, in a back street is a hidden treasure – a contemporary gallery –  19Karen – named after the road. It’s a transformed warehouse with high ceilings and expansive walls to display art. The day I visited there were a number of exciting exhibitions – I just wish it were a little closer but I plan to try to get there for some exhibition openings.
I loved the Anthea Polson Gallery. It’s a treasure trove of delights where many works of art of different styles jostle for attention. When I visited there were stunning photographs by Samantha Everton- Marionettes in the exhibition space.
Works in oil on linen by  Margaret Ackland– the exhibition titled “Worn” were stacked against the wall waiting to be displayed. These remarkable paintings portray antique garments and recall the detailed work of old masters.
These reminded me of a painting I did a few years ago with the title “Too late for the heirloom”. This was a portrait that included the family Christening robe in the background. A different dress was worn on the day because the heirloom was now too small since the ceremony had been delayed.

Too Late for the Heirloom - oil on canvas Carol Lee Beckx © 2006

Venturing down the coast
A trip to Byron Bay was essential, I was told. So off down the coast we went on a day trip. It was a glorious day – bright and hot. The first stop was Burleigh Heads. There's breathtaking view back towards the high rise buildings of the Gold Coast.

Gold Coast high rise buildings from Burleigh Heads


View from Byron Bay


 I love travelling as there are so many interesting people that one meets along the way. At a view site I parked alongside this camper – clearly the owner had a very long –term project in mind. I couldn’t resist taking a photo!



As a landscape painter, it’s a treat to discover new vistas. At Burleigh Beach there were huge rocks - similar to ones on Umhlanga beach that I have painted previously.


From the lighthouse at Byron Bay there were sweeping views of kilometres of sandy beaches. I'll be back to do more drawings and paintings.