Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Sktchy Retrospective

The Sktchy online community is one of the best - everyone is so supportive, generous with encouragement as well as sharing tips and techniques. One artist posted a collection of her portraits starting with her very first ever and then one from each subsequent year. She invited us to do the same. It’s really interesting to see the development of the artists and their wide range of styles and techniques. 

 Here are a few portraits from the past five years that I have been part of Sktchy. 

This portrait using graphite combined with watercolour is a favourite. I have
also used the image as a collage element in another painting - see below.

This Mixed Media painting incorporates a couple of portraits, stencils and collage.

As I scrolled through my gallery of portraits I came across all the ones that had been chosen as Sktchy “Picks” over the years. ‘Picks’ are chosen as featured portraits and are rewarded with a star. 

These three portraits show the dramatic use of vibrant watercolour with ink - the combination works really well. 

Sunday, 1 September 2019

Nundah Village Art Exhibition

The annual Nundah Art Exhibition will be on  Saturday and Sunday 7th - 8th September. The Nundah Now Village Street Festival is held on Sunday from 9.00 am to 3.00 pm with live music, street entertainers as well as the usual street stalls.

It’s a great show in an unusual venue - the Northside Honda workshop. A few vehicles are raised up out of the way on hoists, and screens are set up to display the paintings. There is always a wide variety of excellent work. As a bonus, the opening soiree on Saturday evening  is a lot of fun.  

I will have four paintings on the show. 

The Wind Scatters the golden leaves - oil on canvas 610 mm x 610 mm. 

Wild weather - Tasman Peninsula - oil and cold wax on panel 610 mm x 610 mm

Still Beautiful  - watercolour on paper 

Proteas with a jug - oil and cold wax on paper.

Saturday, 24 August 2019

Nine years later

Nine years seems to be a long time, but, honestly the last nine have gone by in a flash. On 24th August 2010, I wrote the first post for Art Matters. Today’s post is something of an anniversary celebration. 

The posts haven’t always been regular but I have kept to my original aim - I would publish when I had something to say, and in that I am pleased with the way the blog has evolved.

Wild Weather, Tasman Peninsula - 610 mm x 610 mm oil and cold wax on panel 

The first post - A new beginningmarked the beginning of a new stage in my life as I prepared to emigrate to Australia. My words went out into cyberspace and I had no idea if anyone noticed or if they even read the posts. For quite a while there was no response, and no comments. To be honest, in the beginning I had no clue about how to find the blog analytics to see how many readers there had been! Eventually, in September, a couple of comments started to appear. There was someone out there after all.

Even though the reader numbers were modest, I persevered and continued to document the packing up of my old life and preparation for a new life in a new country. The blog proved to be good therapy for these rather scary times. Over the years I've enjoyed writing the posts. It's been a vehicle where I can show and document my work.

During the first years I had to be patient and wait for the phone to ring or a query arrive in my inbox. Now I am in the pleasurable situation where work and opportunities come to me

My life in Brisbane is full and happy. I have a group of wonderful artists attending classes in my Studio. I have had some success with paintings, commissions and art exhibition entries.

Frequently I sit back and reflect on just how amazing my life is here. Hard as it was to leave family and friends behind in South Africa, I am so grateful for the opportunities I have enjoyed in Australia.

Riverside Trees - oil on linen 

This painting was the winner of the Grand Prize at the Nundah Village Art Show in September 2015.

A couple of years later, this portrait came second at the same show. It’s a special feeling to have one’s work honoured in the way.

Dan - watercolour on Ampersand clayboard. 

Frequently I sit back and reflect on just how amazing my life is here. Hard as it was to leave family and friends behind in South Africa, I am so grateful for the opportunities I have enjoyed in Australia.

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Digital Portraits

Since the beginning of the year I have been trying to draw portraits more often. One of the easiest ways to make this happen is to do them digitally using the Procreate app. It’s so convenient to pick up an Apple Pencil and draw a few lines while waiting for something. And the clean up afterwards - well there’s none! 

Last year I upgraded my iPad Air to the  iPad 2018 and this, combined with the Apple Pencil, really is a game-changer. Previously I had been using a Jot Pro stylus which was alright but still quite difficult to use. When I look at some of these earlier portraits I can see the struggle. 

I also took a couple of online courses through Sktchy with Lisa Fillion. This improved my ability use Procreate more extensively and with more confidence. I enjoy the way I can now add textured paper to the background, move elements of the drawing around and just have a lot of fun. 

My first portrait was posted on the 18th April 2015. To date, I have completed 308 portraits.
Joan Martin was the first person to draw my attention to the app. It took me a while to “get it” but once I hooked I didn’t look back. Thanks, Joan.

Sktchy chooses portraits that they like to be featured as a “Pick” so when one of my early Procreate portraits was chosen I was thrilled. 

The Sktchy community is one of the most supportive online groups. The muses are provide a never-ending source of inspiration and my fellow artists are generous with support and encouragement. 

Monday, 22 July 2019

Back in the day - one small step...

Fifty years - it really doesn’t seem that long ago. 

On the 20th July 1969 I was in my second year of Art School in South Africa. I was scheduled for a painting lecture but announced to my lecturer that I was going to the Students Union so I could listen to the historic moon landing in the radio. 

Why listen on the radio I hear you say? Remember this was 1969 in South Africa. The Nationlist government with their rigid, Calvinistic approach deemed television to be a threat to its control of the broadcasting media and a threat to the Afrikaans language. BJ Vorster termed TV "The Devil’s Box". Television was not introduced nation wide until the beginning of 1976. We were so isolated from the rest of the world.

So while the rest of the world watched the grainy footage of Neil Armstrong stepping on to the surface of the moon and hear him utter the now iconic words:   “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” I listened to this historic event on the radio. 

(My lecturer came to check up on me to see that I was where I said I would be!). 

Later, we would see footage of the moon landing at the cinema where it would be shown along with other news. Now if something newsworthy happens I can watch it on my phone. Times have indeed changed.

In contrast, Australia played an important role in the broadcast of moon landing to the world. on Saturday night I watched a movie, The Dish, which told the story of the satellite dish in a sheep paddock in Parkes, New South Wales which broadcast the images to the world.

Monday, 15 July 2019

De-cluttering is good for the soul.

Each year our complex undergoes a check for termites. It’s a time when I need to wrestle with my storage area under the stairs. Useful as it is to have a place to store “stuff” unfortunately it often, no usually, becomes an area where things are shoved unceremoniously and pile haphazardly on top of other things. It gets to the stage where it becomes a "No Entry Possible" zone. In order for the area to be checked, it needs to be empty so that’s what I have been doing. 

I made a resolution this time to reduce the amount stored here. I planned to de-clutter anything that hasn’t been used since the last inspection. That’s easier said than done, because it’s tempting to fall into the trap of thinking an item might be useful in the future.

Upstairs I have a spare bedroom where I store canvasses. This too, has become crowded and many of the paintings are ones that haven’t worked. A few I have recycled and painted new paintings over the failed first attempt. This is often not good practice since the subsequent layers can be prone to cracking if the “fat over lean” principle is not adhered to. 

Oils can be painted over acrylic but the additional layers need a higher oil content than the underpainting. Acrylic can never be painted on top of oils since the new layers will simply peel off. 

There were a few stretcher frames that were not square or of poor quality. Some of the paintings were those that came in my container. A few paintings I will keep as a record of past themes but there were quite a few that just didn’t make the cut. These got the cut literally when I got busy with the Stanley knife and slashed the canvas to ribbons! 


Now I need to have a Studio sale and find homes for some still in storage. 

Friday, 28 June 2019

Lethbridge 20,000 - exhibiting Still Life with Lilies

Still Life with Lilies - oil on canvas 600 mm x 600 mm 

While I was pet sitting for my daughter, I bought these beautiful lilies and had fun photographing them in various locations around her home. I was fascinated by the reflection of the decorative wallpaper in the ornate mirror. I enjoyed painting the details in the wallpaper and the frame - time consuming but the result was worth it.

I am so delighted that this painting has been selected as a finalist in the Lethbridge 20,000 Art Award. It will be exhibited at the Latrobe Terrace Gallery along with other paintings in Group A. Another group of selected paintings will be shown at the Bulimba Gallery. In addition, there are a number of paintings in the online exhibition. My first entry to this show was in 2013 and am so pleased to say that I have had a painting selected every year. 

The exhibition opens this Saturday evening at 6.00 pm when the winners will be announced. 

Address: 136 Latrobe Terrace,
                Paddington QLD 4064
Tues 12pm - 6pm
Thur Fri 9am - 6pm
Sat 10am-5pm
or by appointment

Address: 7/11 Wambool Street, 
                Bulimba QLD 4171
Wed - Sat 10am - 5pm
or by appointment

This award is in its tenth year and is a way for Brett Lethbridge to give back to the art community. Early in his career he had received much needed support in his career as an artist.

Monday, 24 June 2019

More sketches for Milk Bar Cafe, Ashgrove

Since my previous post about my sketch becoming a mural at Milk in Ashgrove, I have been very busy painting some watercolours of the delicious treats that are served in the Cafe. These sketches are part of the recent renovations and decorate the windows on the outside of the shopping centre. 

Who doesn’t love Burger and chips ? 

Panoramic view of Ashgrove Avenue windows. 

Harry Street Windows 

Windows near the centre lift 

Raspberry Milkshake

Delicious Mango and Watermelon Frappes 

Green Vegan Smoothie.

Crunchie Milkshake

Double Chocolate milkshakes

When I was at Milk to take these photos I was able to get a shot of the inside mural - this time with no patrons!

Monday, 17 June 2019

Hooray! You’ve got sales!

This is the very best kind of email to receive - one telling you that you have made some sales. In this case, I had sold some copies of my book Colour - A Practical Approach. I self-published the book through Blurb towards the end of last year. Sales that happen while you sleep, are the best kind of sales to make, having done all the hard work previously. Although to be honest, for the sales to happen “while sleeping” one needs to do a fair amount of marketing while you’re awake!

And now that’s exactly what I am doing here - a little shameless self promotion. 

The book is available in a couple of formats. The most cost effective is, of course, the eBook which doesn’t involve hefty postage. (Believe me, I know all too well how the impulse to buy something online is quickly quashed when one checks the shipping fee!) 
The downside of a digital copy is that it’s not as easy to make notes on, and I confess to be very fond of a proper printed book. We work with screens all day long so it is pleasant to hold a book. When reading at night in bed it helps when you fall asleep and the book falls on to the floor!

Colour - A Practical Approach 8" x 10" is available in both Hardcover with cover design printed on the cover and Softcover with a flexible High gloss laminated cover. Here are the links to Blurb where you are able to order a copy or download the eBook:

Hard and soft cover Preview

I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the printing. The book measures 8” x 10which is a good size to read and work with. 

I chose the standard white uncoated 105 gsm paper which is of a high quality but still economical. The colour reproductions are very good indeed and true to the original colours in my paintings and illustrations. 

The Contents page of Colour - A Practical Approach 

If you already have a copy of my book, thank you very much for your support. I would love to have some feedback. A review would be most welcome.

I enjoyed writing the book so much and have already been mulling over some ideas for another one. 

Friday, 7 June 2019

Sketching at Milk Cafe Ashgrove

I love sketching in Cafe’s. It’s a way of recording where I’ve been, and a great way to connect with people. A couple of years ago I did this sketch at Milk Bar Cafe, Ashgrove. 

Recently, the owner contacted me asking for permission to use the sketch as a mural in the cafe. Moreover, they were happy to reimburse me for the use of the sketch. So often today an artist’s work is appropriated without acknowledgement or payment so it is really gratifying to come across someone who does the right thing. 

I had to search to find the original sketch, (there is an intention to catalogue my sketchbooks but that is a distant intention) however, trawling through my Instagram page turned out to be the best solution. 

Here is my post:

The spread in my sketchbook with later additions - Ink and watercolour  in Handbook Sketchbook 


A view of the mural from the counter. It’s so satisfying to see a quick sketch given pride of place on the wall.  

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Proteas with a Jug at Rotary Art Spectacular 2019

Proteas with a Jug - oil and cold wax on panel 40 cm x 40 cm 

I am delighted that this little painting will be part of the Rotary Art Spectacular 2019. The exhibition opens on Monday evening - details below in a screen shot from the website.

I have written about the process of this painting in an earlier post which you can find here. I so enjoyed painting it and am so pleased with the result - I just love the colours. It’s really satisfying when everything just “works”. Although as you will have read in the post there were a few obstacles along the way.

Two more of my paintings are part of the Online Exhibition. There were so many entries this year so I am happy to have a painting selected to hang in the show. Once the online catalogue is on the website I’ll add a link here.

Transition - oil and cold wax on canvas 90 cm x 90 cm 

Digital Painting

Over the last couple of years I have become more and more fascinated wit h digital painting. I still have a lot to learn and try to expand my use of new digital brushes with each new painting. This painting started out as an oil painting on canvas. It had been started some time ago and then left while I went on to paint other images. I hauled it out of storage to re-work it and complete the painting. Photographing work in progress provides a way to assess the quality. I loaded this photograph to Procreate and then I realised that since the entries for the Rotary Exhibition were now open to digital images there was nothing to stop me submitting a digital painting. 

Time and Space - digital painting - suggested size: 60cm x 60 cm. 

Since this is a digital print on archival paper, the size can be altered to suit your requirements. Alternatively the painting can be printed on to a stretched canvas and would then require no framing. 

Thursday, 25 April 2019

Hamilton Road Studio - Term 2 2019

Art Classes Hamilton Road Studio

Please note that the Classes are suitable for adults
22/960 Hamilton Road, McDowall 4053
  • Tuition in drawing, watercolour, acrylics and oils is offered
  • During each class there will be some demonstration of technique as well as individually mentored tuition.
  • Classes are small (Max 6) so each participant can work in their chosen medium and at their own pace.
  • Students should be prepared to enroll for a term (usually 10 weeks).
  • Since my Studio is small, casual classes i.e. pay per attendance cannot be offered. 
  • For full details and Terms and conditions, please email Carol - carolbeckx@bigpond.com

Reviews from artists attending the Studio.

One of the artists wrote this in an email to me after a painting was accepted for the Rotary Art Spectacular Exhibition:

"Hi Carol
I’m so excited just to have my art accepted .
Your mentor ship over the years has been invaluable Thanks Carol and looking forward to my projects for next term." 

And this lovely email came from another artist...

Good morning Carol,

Just wanted to pop you an email to tell you about my experiences at your studio.

When I started art classes at your Studio 5 years ago I hoped that your classes would reignite my interest in painting.  I had dabbled with painting in high school and a few classes when my children were young but had not pursued it any further than that.  I have learnt so much from you….. I love that each student in your class is encouraged to pursue their own ‘style’.  I love that we, as a group, encourage and learn from each other. I enjoy the little talks or mini lectures you give on a different style or artist and how your classes are not just about the actual painting but also about the ‘love of art’ .  So good for the soul.  

When I started 5 years ago I had hoped to achieve certain things.  I have done this and more.  I thank you for sharing your knowledge with me ....