Wednesday 25 December 2013

Christmas Greetings

Wishing you a Blessed Christmas and good health and happiness in 2014.


Friday 20 December 2013

Where did 2013 go ?

It is said that the older one gets the faster time goes. 

Perhaps it's the awareness that the road ahead is undoubtedly shorter than the road already travelled; perhaps it's because there are so many projects still to do; or it’s the realization that there aren't enough days left to accomplish everything.

Then you know that each precious day should be treasured and filled to capacity.

As I look back on 2013, I realize that it's been a busy year - the highlighted words link to the images and blog posts.
Here’s what I've been up to: 

Postcards from Europe - oil on linen -910mm x 1200mm ©2013 Carol Lee Beckx
  • Postcards from Europe - this painting captured special travel memories for my client.
  • Testing the Stillman & Birn Beta sketchbook - there's an album of these drawings and paintings here on Flickr.
  • A major website re-design was a lot of work but very rewarding.
  • Two different portraits were delivered - such fun!
  • Exhibiting at The Rotary Art Spectacular - my first time at this prestigious exhibition
  • Lethbridge10,000 - I was so pleased to be an artist selected for the gallery exhibition.
  • Re-creating a client's Greek holiday memories - and here are the paintings. 
  • Painting a portrait of a dear Grandson - I would love to do more portraits next year - I still have so much to learn...
  • A painting with a difference - Time for Pizza - a painting for a patio with a new pizza oven.

  • Art classes were held throughout the year and a number of one day workshops:
Ink and Wash; Composition; Watercolour - New Directions; and Introduction to oils
    My good wishes go out to all my readers over this holiday season.
I wish you a Happy Christmas.I hope you will have time to stop and relax; to enjoy the company of family and special friends; and may you have time to dream a little… 

Monday 16 December 2013

Mist and evening light

Kloof, Kwa Zulu Natal is an area known for frequent misty conditions - it makes driving difficult but it's so beautiful I had to share this image.

A day later, and the evening light was equally beautiful.

Appearances are often deceptive you can see from the blurred roses, the wind was blowing strongly.


Friday 13 December 2013

Working holiday

A couple of months ago I made a flippant remark to my sister about holding a workshop while visiting family and friends in South Africa. She had lamented the fact that Australia was a bit too far for her to attend when I had advertised a recent workshop.

The off hand remark became reality on Wednesday with the one day workshop "Ink and Wash".

Before I knew what was happening she had booked the hall and had a full complement of 20 participants signed up! Whew....

So my packing list for the trip had to include pens, ink and watercolours.

The workshop was a variation on a similar one I had held in Brisbane. I knew some of the people but a lot were new to me so trying to set a level for the class was a challenge. I decided on some fun to break the ice and get everyone out of their comfort zones..... A blind contour portrait of their neighbour - and to add a twist - using only a twig pen and ink!! The twig pens, were again my sister's hard work - she collected them and cleaned off the bark; sharpened the ends - she deserves a medal...(and this is in addition to doing all the admin for the day - maybe I need her in Brisbane?)

I had a wonderful group - enthusiastic, talented and prepared to experiment with some wonderful results. Here are some examples of the work done taken during the day.

A special thank you to my sister and her sister-in-law (she helped with the catering) and all the lovely artists who helped make the day so enjoyable.

The experience of the day reinforced the realisation that my decision to make painting and teaching the focus of my life was absolutely the right one - I do so love what I do!


Saturday 7 December 2013

Travelling in South Africa

Evening sky

Some images of this beautiful country...

These were taken last Friday soon after my arrival in South Africa on the drive from the airport to Potchefstroom in North West Province. Love seeing this familiar countryside again.


Friday 6 December 2013

Nelson Mandela - an icon for South Africa and the world

During the night the sad news came that the people of South Africa and indeed the world have been expecting for some time - the passing of our hero Nelson Mandela - Madiba - Tata - father. It is especially poignant for this to happen while I am visiting from Australia.

As I move around the country visiting family, and as I experience the bustle, the crowds, the chaotic traffic, the warmth of the people it's as though I haven't been away.

As the country mourns the loss of a special man, a man without equal, our thoughts and prayers go to his family. May his legacy of love for all people and his enduring wish for peace be a lasting gift to the country and the world.

Rest in Peace Madiba.


Friday 29 November 2013

The Return Visit

It’s three years since I set off from South Africa to settle here in Brisbane, Australia, and what eventful years they have been...

Pink Roses with Mirrors - oil on canvas 610 mm x 915 mm ©2013 Carol Lee Beckx

There were times, especially in the early days, when I questioned my sanity and doubted my decision to bid farewell to the familiar and the comfortable for an uncertain future. 
My grandson, with the wisdom of the young, asked me, just before I left, what I was going to do in Australia. I replied that I planned to be an artist and to teach art. He was voicing the question many were not asking.

He said to me " What if that doesn't work,Gran?"
At a loss for words, I most likely said something along the lines of "I'll have to think of Plan B."

However, Australia has been really good to me and there's been no need for alternate plans. The people have opened their hearts to me and given me work - students have attended my classes and workshops, offering friendship as well as their attendance at my classes - helps  keep the wolf from the door; clients have trusted me with their special commissions and others have loved and bought my paintings.

Thank you.

As you read this I will be on a plane to returning for my first visit back to South Africa - and I can’t wait. I am so excited to see my family and my friends, who have been on my mind and in my heart since I left.  

2nd December 2013 - the post didn't publish as better late than never...

Thursday 21 November 2013

Botanique Christmas Bazaar at Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens

Here is a last minute reminder about this exciting event in the beautiful Botanic Gardens, Brisbane.

Artists and artisans will be showing a wide range of wares over the weekend, opening this evening with a preview at 6.00pm. The show continues until 4.00pm Sunday 24th November.

I will be showing some botanically inspired paintings.



Tuesday 12 November 2013

Drawing at Deja` Bru

Deja` Bru Café - ink and watercolour Stillman & Birn Alpha sketchbook
©2013 Carol Lee Beckx

A favourite café,  Deja` Bru, is just up the road from me so I do visit often! 
If you remember, it’s also the home of my large painting of Paris - here’s the link to see the painting.

The other day I was delighted to find that the lovely owner had started to ride to work. Her delightful pink bike was standing in a corner.

It was the perfect addition to my sketch.

Friday 8 November 2013

Make some Art

Blue & White cup and saucer - ink and graphite
Stillman &Birn Alpha Sketchbook
© 2013 Carol Lee Beckx

1. Make some Art.

2. Make some more Art.

3. Make even more Art.

4. Make even more Art than that.

5. Make Art when you don't really feel like making Art.

6. Make Art when you REALLY feel like making Art.

7. Make Art when you have something to say.

8. Make Art when you got nothin' to say.

9. Make Art every day.

10. Keep making Art.

Wednesday 30 October 2013

Play and Creativity

Yesterday was spent doing a workshop at Arthouse Northside. The topic was Watercolour - New Directions. My enthusiastic participants had great fun - mostly playing - and were not too concerned about the end product.

Play is the key to creativity. Play gives you licence to make a mess; discover new tools; try out new techniques; mix new colours.

Merce Cunningham - watercolour on paper 320mm x 240mm ©2013 Carol Lee Beckx

Play silences the excuses; silences the monkey sitting on your shoulder chirping in your ear telling you that what you are doing is rubbish.

Playing allows you to say “This is just play, it doesn’t matter how it turns out”
If you play often enough, the monkey will be confused. He won’t know when you are doing serious “Art” or when you’re just playing.

Eventually he will give up the constant chatter and leave you in peace.

The watercolour above is a demo done during the workshop - light loose pencil lines and three stage washes with a limited palette

Tuesday 29 October 2013

A New Look for Art Matters

I have wanted to do a design re-vamp here for some time. Lately I find that reading white text on a black background is difficult and after a while my eyes hurt...

The grey background I used to have was easier on the eye but I decided to go minimal and switch to a white background with grey text.
The Pages have moved to the top of the blog under the header but otherwise everything is where it was.

I feel a little silly telling you this when you can see for yourself the changes I've made!!

I would love to know what you think of the changes.... go on, be brave - leave a comment, please.

Saturday 26 October 2013

Hamilton Northshore Sketchcrawl

The Brisbane Urban Sketchers were out last Saturday for the 41st Worldwide Sketchcrawl. The group used the City Cat service starting in the city and stopping off to sketch along the way. I could only join late - but luckily I was in time for lunch. The lunch at the Northshore Riverside Cafe was delicious. These are my sketches from the afternoon.

I used my Stillman & Birn Alpha Sketchbook which worked well for these drawings.

Little Treasures - Fiona Foley Ink & watercolour 
 © 2013 Carol Lee Beckx

Hamilton Northshore Jetty - Inktense Indian Ink  
© 2013 Carol Lee Beckx

 Hamilton Northshore Ink & watercolour 
© 2013 Carol Lee Beckx

Wednesday 23 October 2013

Portrait Commission

This portrait is a recent commission. I’m pleased to say that both Grandparents and parents are happy with the result. 

Portrait of a Boy - oil on canvas - 510mm x 410mm © 2013 Carol Lee Beckx

Tuesday 22 October 2013

One Day Workshops - Watercolour and Oils

  1.  Watercolour - New Directions
With Carol Beckx

Arthouse Northside One Day Workshop

Tuesday 29th October 2013 - Watercolour - New Directions
9.30 to 3.00 pm
$70 for the day
Each participant will receive:
·         a sheet of Fabriano Watercolour Studio paper 300gsm (35.5cm x 51cm)
·         a sheet of Canson Montval watercolour paper 300gsm cold press (24cm x 32cm)

To book your place please phone Arthouse Northside on 3869 2444
If you have questions about the workshops and to get the materials list please contact
Carol on 0448 886 785 or email

2. Introduction to Oils
With Carol Beckx

Arthouse Northside One Day Workshop
Tuesday 12th November 2013
9.30 to 3.00 pm
$70 for the day
To book your place please phone Arthouse Northside on 3869 2444

Georgian oil colours will be available for participants to use during the workshop. For other materials needed, please refer to the materials list.

If you have questions about the workshops and for the materials list please contact
Carol on 0448 886 785 or email

This workshop is designed to give you a taste of oil painting.
The different techniques will be demonstrated then participants will be able to practice these.
    Basic techniques
    Brushwork - different types and their marks
    Basic colour palette and colour mixing
    Mediums and their use
    Dry brush and scumbling
    Glazing techniques
    Palette knife painting 

Saturday 19 October 2013

Opening Night at Percolator Gallery

There was a bumper crowd at Percolator Gallery for the opening of cARTwheel Collaborative's exhibition. It was wonderful to have so much support for our work.

To view all the paintings I have on the show please go to this page Painting's at Percolator Gallery 

Exhibition View - ©2013  Carol Lee Beckx 

Sunday 13 October 2013

Reeds Rise From Water

Reeds Rise From Water - oil on canvas - 760mm x 760mm © Carol Lee Beckx 2013

This painting is part of the body of work I will show at a group exhibition opening this week. The paintings are oil on canvas as well as a few small watercolours on paper.

To see my paintings on the Exhibition please click on this page: Paintings at Percolator Gallery. Once the exhibition is open the link will be live. 

The exhibition is at Percolator Gallery 134 Latrobe Street, Paddington 
Thursday 17th to Sunday 27th October.

cARTwheel Collaborative was created in 2012 by an eclectic group of Brisbane Artists who share a love of art. The group provides a mutually supportive environment, stimulating our creative adventures. The decision to exhibit together in a group show was a natural progression.

The name arose out of a brain-storming session. It’s fun and quirky, and is both dynamic and symbolic. We enjoyed that cARTwheel has the powerful symbol of a circle, signifying an unending ring of support. The movement of the cartwheel allows us to pick up talented artists on our journey. Moreover ART is an integral part of the name.

Tuesday 1 October 2013

The last term of 2013

Days and weeks come and go as the year speeds to its end. In two months’ time I will be on my way to South Africa to visit my family there - a long time - three years since I saw them last. How good it will be to catch up with everyone?

In the meantime it’s back to the daily routine. The Studio will open for classes next week as we start the last term of the year.

Classes are on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays 9.00am to 12.00pm. 
The classes are small so each artist can pursue their favourite medium. I have some people drawing only; others work in watercolour, acrylic or oils.

There will also be a couple of workshops before the end of term. More details on these will be posted on this blog.

There are some places available on Thursday and Friday so let me know if you are interested and I can send you more information.

A couple of commissions have kept me busy during the break. This painting was such fun. My client had recently built a Pizza oven on his patio and wanted something different for the wall.

I enjoyed including all the delicious ingredients that make a good pizza, and of course a glass of red was mandatory.I have been assured he won’t be charging his friends when they call round for a pizza!

Dotto's Pizza - acrylic on canvas - © 2013 Carol Lee Beckx
Please forgive the shine on the RH side of the painting - the black was a beast to photograph and beyond my meagre skills!

Thursday 19 September 2013

Bunya Riverside

Walks along the beach are the one thing that I really miss about living here. Now before you say - but there are great beaches here - absolutely - but they aren't on my doorstep. I need to drive for a couple of hours rather than fifteen minutes down the road.

However, I have found Bunya Riverside. It is an idyllic spot close to my home. It is very tranquil with a path along the river bank, meandering between trees. Reflections fascinate me - there is the magical quality of doubling a beautiful vista. 

Bunya Riverside oil on canvas 1000mm x 1000mm © 2013 Carol Lee Beckx 

My usual process is to work from plein air sketches and photographs. My aim is never a completely representational painting, but rather an image that has been edited, altered and transformed. Completing the painting away from the inspiration allows my inner sense of place to be foremost, rather than a slavish rendering of the scene before me.

The use of photographs originates from my years of living in South Africa where painting in the countryside was fraught with danger. Even stopping along the road to take photographs could often be extremely risky. Consequently, I am used to absorbing the essence quickly and then using the photographic images as a backup.

Bunya reflections © 2013 Carol Lee Beckx

When an artist takes pictures it's hard to not to edit and compose to such an extent that when back in the studio one often wishes the zoom had not been so enthusiastic and that extra details just beyond the image were included.

Bunya riverside © 2013 Carol Lee Beckx

This painting started with a bright under painting of Permanent Rose and a mixture of Cadmium Yellow and Indian Yellow. There are two benefits: the under-painting gives the painting a warm tone and helps banish the fear of the white canvas.

I was so sure that I had some work in progress photographs bit either they are hidden in my vast store of photo files or I got so carried away that I forgot to take any. I do have some of the plein air sketches. These will give an idea of the origins of the composition.

Bunya Riverside Watercolour sketch © 2013 Carol Lee Beckx

Bunya Riverside Watercolour sketch in Fabriano Venezia sketchbook © 2013 Carol Lee Beckx

When I start a painting I refer to my sketches and photographs so I have a framework for the composition. Later in the process the photographs are abandoned as the painting takes on a life of its own. Occasionally, when I lose my way, I go back to the sketches and re-discover elements that I feel need to be included in the painting. 

Knowing when to stop is an art in itself - and I'm afraid I don't really have an easy solution. I get to a stage when I feel there is nothing more to add - or remove. 

This painting has been accepted for the Moreton Bay Regional Art Awards. The exhibition opens on Friday 11th October at the Strathpine Community Centre. You can view all the finalists here.

Wednesday 21 August 2013

Composition and the Principles of Design

Nymphea - oil on canvas 910mm x 610mm ©2013 Carol Lee Beckx

This one day workshop will be held at the Hamilton Road Studio on the following dates:
Saturday 24th August;
Thursday 29th August Please note this workshop has been postponed until September - date to be confirmed
Friday 30th August - Fully Booked 
9.30am to 3.30pm
$60 for the day.
Morning tea/coffee and Veg soup for lunch will be provided. (If you have any special dietary needs please BYO)

Mastering composition & design is an essential skill for all artists.
The course will include:
  • Elements of composition
  • How to apply these to your art work
  • Format selection
  • Notan drawings
  • Drawing to scale - enlarging preparatory drawings

Participants are also welcome to bring paintings or drawings for help with composition.

Materials list
The aim of the workshop is to do a number of smaller compositions, working towards a number of working sketches for future paintings/drawings
  • VISUAL ART JOURNAL 200gsm or more to take paint and for notes
  • PENCILS e.g.2B and 6B, Eraser; Ruler, set square; Black felt tip pen for Notan drawings
  • A selection of any of the following: Coloured pencils; Inktense pencils; watercolour pencils - these will be used to make a number of small colour sketches, Derwent sketching or Graphitint pencils.
  • Reference Photographs and /or drawings to use as a basis for the exercises.(I will have some but it’s better to work from your own ideas)
  • Tracing paper - a couple of sheets
  • White Card +/- 35cm square to make your own “L” shaped angles for cropping images. (I will have some for purchase)

Sunday 18 August 2013

Mt Coot-tha Botanical Gardens, Brisbane

What a special day! I joined members of the Urban Sketchers Brisbane at the Mt Coot-tha Botanical Gardens. The weather was perfect - warm and sunny but not too hot. 

It was also a day of celebration - The Japanese Cultural Day was held in the Japanese Gardens, hosted by the Japanese Consulate General. Crowds flocked to watch interactive demonstrations of the traditional tea ceremony, ikebana and origami.  

Next to this beautiful shady bamboo water feature, I found a lovely flat rock to use as a seat while I did this sketch. Children came to look and dip their fingers in the cool clear water or watch the lizards dart around on the rocks. 

It's the first opportunity I had to try out a new A4 Moleskine watercolour sketchbook out of the studio. The paper is great and very responsive to both ink and watercolour. Balancing the large format book, paintbox, and small water bottle took a bit of practice. 

Later in the afternoon after lunch we returned to do a little more sketching. I wanted to complete a sketch I had started earlier. I had struggled to draw the panorama because of the crowds walking along the path in front of me.We were treated to the haunting sounds of Japanese music drifting across the water.

It was a great way to spend the day, sketching with friends in a perfect setting.

Friday 16 August 2013

These paintings found a good home

I was delighted to receive these photographs this morning. My paintings of Avlemonos and Menomvasia are hanging in their new home - and isn't the space just perfect for them?

Sunday 11 August 2013

Images of Greece

While I would love to continue to travel the world I am so fortunate that I can enjoy beautiful places by painting them in my studio. I have never had the opportunity to visit Greece so a recent commission to capture a wonderful holiday there was almost as good as travelling there myself. 

Avlemonos, Kythira, Greece oil on canvas 30" x 24" © Carol Lee Beckx 2013

This first painting is Avlemonos on the island of Kythira. The sea is the most unbelievable colour - clear and translucent. The water is Turquoise, Cerulean, cobalt, sapphire, all in wonderful harmony; crisp white buildings with blue windows complete the picture. 

From rocky outcrops one looks down to the sea and the beach below, personally it almost gave me a feeling of being too close to the edge. (But then I do have a thing about heights)

In some ways it was really difficult to photograph the painting with any degree of accuracy, and this photo does note really do justice to the colours.

Monemvasia, Greece oil on canvas 24" x 30" © Carol Lee Beckx 2013

The second painting is set in the fishing village, Monemvasia located on a small peninsula on the east coast of the Peloponnese. Fishing boats cast interesting reflections with the Rock of Monemvasia in the background.

A highlight was delivering the paintings (always with my heart pounding, wondering how the paintings will be received) and seeing that the paintings had fulfilled my client's expectations. 

Sunday 4 August 2013

The disappearing Page and a delivery

It was supposed to be a quick fix - change a number on my Commissioned Portraits page, alter some wording and be finished.

Then, disaster - the Page has disappeared. It's so easily done - click on the wrong bit while on the iPad and oops - the page is gone - forever!! This is not the first time the flick of a careless finger has cost me dearly.

So now after fetching my laptop from home; (I'm away for the weekend) finding the saved copy of the file; deciding the page needed editing anyway; noticing that some links on other pages were not working - they slipped through the net when I upgraded my website, I've been busy for over two hours !

My new resolution - leave tinkering with the pages completely alone when not working form the safety of the laptop.

On the bright side though, it was great to deliver the painting to Transform Hair on Friday afternoon. They were thrilled with it - it's always so satisfying when a commission meets with approval.

Transform Hair The Gap