Monday 24 September 2012

Artist's Studios

Artist's studios have long held a fascination for both artists and non-artists alike. On Saturday a friend and I took a drive up to the Sunshine Coast hinterland. Fiona Dempster’s blog Paper Ponderings mentioned the Open Studios so we decided to take a drive to explore these. It was a delight to enjoy her books and delicate calligraphy in real life. 

Fiona's pebbles

A more than a few mysteries were explained. Here is the website with all the details of the studios and how to find them.

Travelling through the picturesque area around Maleny and Montville, we visited a number of studios some tucked away down rough farm roads, many with spectacular views of the Glass House Mountains. The day was very hazy so the mountains were soft and gentle.

The studios we visited were all spacious and well equipped - I suffered severe studio envy!

After a delicious lunch at The Poet’s Café, we called in to The Main Street Gallery, Montville.  Christopher Pope is exhibiting his breathtakingly detailed acrylic paintings of Australian birds and wildlife.

At a view site I looked down and saw this little gem.

If you are in the Brisbane area do take a drive next weekend to explore the studios.. As there are about 20 studios, I would suggest you decide which to visit and plan a route ahead of time. 

It’s a lovely day out - the scenery is spectacular. As well as the studios, there are lots of wonderful galleries, shops and  many restaurants serving delicious food.

Wednesday 19 September 2012

One Hundred Posts

It's taken me a while to get there but this post marks the 100th since I started this blog. 

                           Work in Progress Detail: Nymphea - oil on canvas - Carol Lee Beckx ©2012 

In the intervening time I have:

  • Sold and packed up a house 
  • Sold my share of a family business
  • Bade farewell to family and friends
  • Moved continents - South Africa to Australia
  • Discovered many inspiring blogs and made virtual friends worldwide
  • Moved into my new home
  • Set up my studio
  • Started art classes
  • Built and planted a garden (with help from my kind son-in-law)
  • Learnt to swop some words i.e. "jumper" instead of "jersey" and  some new expressions  "no worries, mate"
  • Painted a number of paintings 
  • Won a few prizes 
  • Set up an Etsy site and made a sale
  • Made so many new friends - and this is the part that really makes me feel at home. 
Thank you, Australia for the warm welcome.

The image is a work in progress. I started this painting shortly before I received the Paris commission. 

It's been great fun to splash out in full colour. 

Tuesday 11 September 2012

Virtual travelling in Paris - blog by blog.

In a previous post, Deja Bru - The Project  l wrote about surfing the net for references for my Paris street scene. There are also numerous blogs that extol the delights of Paris. I turned to these for more inspiration.

Detail: The Eiffel Tower Deja Bru - acrylic on Linen Carol Lee Beckx

Some of these gave me a lamp post or a café chair; a tree lined street; a blackboard Menu handwritten in lovely French cursive; chimneys unique to Paris or the detail of a wrought iron balcony.

Thank you for the inspiration.

I thought you might enjoy a virtual tour of Paris, so here are some links:

Saturday 8 September 2012

Deja Bru Cafe`

A photograph of the completed painting installed in the Cafe`

Deja Bru Cafe` - acrylic on canvas- 48" x 144" Carol Lee Beckx (iPhone photo)

Thursday 6 September 2012

The Deja Bru Project

The commission was to create a Paris street scene for a new coffee shop Deja Bru at my local shopping centre. The brief was to include the Eiffel Tower, the buildings of Paris and street cafes painted in black and white. 

To prepare for the work I made a half size drawing of the scene. Half size made sense because the complete work would consist of 3 canvases each measuring 48" x 48". It was important make decisions about the composition where I could see the complete layout.

I obtained large sheets of good quality cartridge paper from Arthouse Northside, strong enough to withstand countless erasures during the drawing process. Two and a half sheets were joined and fixed to the studio wall with tape. Fortunately I had one wall that was long enough to do this!

I turned to the Internet to collect the necessary reference. Some images were a breeze -there are numerous wonderful images of the Eiffel Tower. Google Earth helped with the buildings. First I surfed the Net  for Paris cafes to get the addresses. Once I was there it was down to street view and I was in Paris. The view (complete with people) was then saved as a jpeg.

Sometimes I would want to see the building from further back so I'd move the Google man to a different place in the street only to find that the photo included a bus moving along in front of the building! 

Deja Bru left panel

Deja Bru centre panel

Deja Bru right panel

Once the drawing was approved, and after priming the canvases with good quality gesso, I squared up the canvases. The draft drawing was enlarged by doubling each element. 

Although the brief was for black and white, the painting needed to have tones of grey to add depth and to give more scope to do justice to the architectural details. Since the work was so large I used acrylics because they are fast drying, making it easy to move the canvases off the easels as I alternated between the three sections. The three panels were worked on at the same time keeping each at the same rate of progress to ensure continuity.

As I teach in my studio, the canvases needed to be moved to safety during the classes. It was useful not to have to contend with slow drying oils. Working exclusively in acrylics in tones of grey, black and white was a good exercise in tonal contrast - good lighting was essential. I was also swiftly reminded that acrylic paint dries darker - hmmm. I soon learnt to mix up larger quantities and save these in an air-tight container. In this way, the tones remained more constant and would not dry out too quickly. 

As the work progressed, the client suggested including the name of the cafe, so Deja Bru was transplanted to a street in Paris - with a dash of red. 

Final touches included more black and white in looser brush strokes - and it's done.

The paintings were installed last night and I must admit I am pleased. I'll post a photograph soon.

Monday 3 September 2012

In the Spotlight as a Featured Artist

At the recent Brisbane Art Fair I met artist Janine Whitling. It was a serendipitous meeting as I had found her blog through Seth Apter’s recent Treasure Hunt so it was great to meet her in person.

She asked me to answer some questions about myself as a featured artist for her blog. It was quite a strange experience but good to sit back and look at myself in this way.

These answers plus some kind words about my work feature on her blog today. 

Here is the link to the Featured Artist post.

Her website - Art by Janine Whitling is here. It features her paintings, mixed media pieces ( my favourites) and jewellry. 

Thank you for thinking of me, Janine.

Sunday 2 September 2012

Milestones - two years on

The first post for Art Matters was written two years ago. I have come a long way literally and figuratively since then. Two years ago when I wrote A New Beginning and Deciding to Move, I was in the process of emigrating to Australia. 

This December I will have been here for two years. The process  began back in May 2008 and at times it has been really difficult. Leaving family, friends and the known for a venture in a new country is a daunting prospect. In spite of the difficulties I have no doubt that it was the best decision. I am doing what I love every day and for that I am so grateful.

The Paris commission is almost complete. It has been so rewarding to research the project and bring it to fruition.

Here’s another detail from the painting - all will be revealed soon…