Thursday 20 February 2014

Sketching at the City Botanic Gardens, Brisbane

Last week I spent a very pleasant morning with the Brisbane Urban Sketchers at the City Botanic Gardens. I intended to do just two sketches but on the way back to the river after the essential coffee break I was struck by Robert Juniper's impressive sculpture. I simply had to draw that as well. This meant that I didn't finish it - or for that matter the other sketch of the buildings and Story Bridge! Time ran out so I completed these at home.

I am really enjoying the larger size of the A4 sketchbook and love the unpredictable nature of the Zeta paper. The smooth finish is wonderful for ink - my pen simply glides across the surface.

Plant Form by Robert Juniper, Gardens Point City Botanic Gardens
Ink and watercolour in Stillman & Birn Zeta sketchbook

Yachts at Garden Point City Botanic Gardens
Ink and watercolour in Stillman & Birn Zeta sketchbook

City Buildings & Story Bridge from Garden Point
Ink and watercolour in Stillman & Birn Zeta sketchbook

Monday 17 February 2014

Falling Back to Earth - Drawings

While visiting Falling Back to Earth at Goma, I took some time to sit and draw. Paper, pencils and clipboards were provided for visitors to create their own impressions of Eucalyptus, the huge installation in the Long Gallery.

I had my sketchbook and some water soluble pencils to use for my drawings. At the end of the gallery, cut tree rounds provided seating and a couple of enormous tree trunks created tables.

Looking at the centre was like looking into a canyon - deep fissures in the timber.

Tree Canyon - ink and watercolour in Stillman & Birn Alpha Sketchbook 
© 2014 Carol Lee Beckx

This drawing needed fine ink lines so it was completed in my studio. (The gallery gets twitchy about anyone using a pen in the Gallery space.)

Sketches in Stillman & Birn Alpha sketchbook using Derwent Graphitint, Noodlers Lexington Grey ink and watercolour.

Thursday 13 February 2014

A change to February Workshops

Due to unforeseen circumstances the Acrylics workshop has had to be re-scheduled to March. 
Please check the Workshops' page for more details. 

There are still a couple of places for the Introduction to Abstracts on Wednesday 26th February. Please contact me for more details or to register.

Thursday 6 February 2014

Falling Back to Earth

Recently I spent a very pleasant day at GOMA (Gallery of Modern Art) not least because the air conditioning was a welcome escape from Brisbane's searing heat. I began my day in QAG where I was able to see a work by Cai Guo-Qiang from the permanent collection - a gunpowder drawing. A video of this work shows the process and it's worth watching right through as work is created in an explosive fashion.

My aim for the day was to see "Falling Back to Earth" Cai Guo-Qiang's first solo exhibition in Australia. The exhibition focuses on humanity's relationship with nature, which was inspired by the unique landscapes of Queensland... there is more about the exhibition in the booklet that accompanies the show.

There are four installations. As you enter the Long Gallery, Eucalyptus 2013 extends the length of the space. There’s a giant Eucalyptus, lying on its side - the huge root ball faces the entrance with the trunk and branches soaring high. It's so big I battled to get a photo of the complete tree. I have become slightly obsessed with trees lately so I felt quite at home here.

Eucalyptus 2013 Cai Guo-qiang

The Tea Pavilion 2013 provides a quiet space to sip tea and think. I enjoyed the reflections of the trees in the glass on the side of a stairway. Rounds of felled trees provided both seating and tables on which one could draw with the paper and pencils provided. My attention was drawn to the centre of one table which showed in the inner secrets of this tree. ( Drawing of this to follow)

View from the Tea Pavilion

Heritage 2013 is in the first gallery. Coming as I do from a country with many game reserves, this waterhole was both familiar yet transformed. The entire gallery floor has been raised some 50 cm to accommodate a pristine expanse of water stretching almost the entire gallery space. Beach sand surrounds the water and ranged around the edges are 99 replicas of animals from around the world, all bent down drinking. 

Some animals are in unusual proximity to others that would be prey in normal circumstances. Other animals are larger than life size, and others quite small - the elephant, for instance, is quite small in relation to others.

A single drip breaks the surface - ripples disturb the water - you wonder - did I imagine that drip?

Head On 2006
This installation is confrontational - 99 wolves hurl themselves into the air in an amazing arc only to hit a glass wall as they come back to earth, falling on top of one another in an ungainly heap. More wolves range the area around those leaping, baring their fangs, howling, menacing...

The installation was made all the more surreal as visitors could wander in between the wolves, many posing for the inevitable photographs. Trying to get a shot of the wolves sans people proved to be a challenge.

It's really worth making time to visit the galleries for this exhibition. To read more about the show here is a link to the Gallery's website.