Monday 30 March 2015

Inspiration from Coolum Beach

My holiday at Coolum Beach in December was inspirational on many levels. Time to relax and sketch, time to sit and watch the sea - to hear the waves crashing on the rocks - all these things feed the soul. 

Here are two paintings done in the studio. However the inspiration for them lies not only in the photographs taken early on Christmas Eve, but also in the sketches done on the spot that morning. The beauty of digital photography is that there’s an accurate record of the time and place of each image. 

Watching - Coolum Beach  oil on canvas 910mm x 610mm © 2015 Carol Lee Beckx

Coolum  24th December 2014 6.54am oil on canvas 610mm x 610mm  © 2015 Carol Lee Beckx

Sunday 22 March 2015

Introductions to Oils - Workshop

I have added a new page to Art Matters - all about Workshops in my Studio. 

The first workshop this year is an Introduction to Oils you can read more about it on the Workshops Page here.

Detail; Nymphaea - oil on canvas

This is an opportunity to experiment with oils without having to buy all the materials, especially if you don't know whether the medium is for you or not.

For more details and an Information Sheet please contact Carol:

Wednesday 11 March 2015


Serendipity is making desirable discoveries by accident; a pleasant surprise; whatever you want to call it - don't you just love it when something that you have been thinking or talking about pops up at the right moment?

Soon after I posted So what about your Inner Critic, the most wonderful post arrived in my inbox. I have been inspired by Catherine Drea's photography for some time now. She lives in Ireland and has been awarded Irish Blog award for Best Photography blog for 2013 and 2014 photographer. If ever I need to be uplifted, I visit her blog Foxglove Lane

When I started reading 10 Tips in Contemplative Photography practice I thought: This relates so much to what I was talking about in the Inner Critic post - and written so eloquently. 

Catherine has kindly allowed me to talk about her post and link it here. Please read this - and if you are a painter rather than a photographer just think in terms of a sketchbook instead of a camera. (Although taking a contemplative photographic approach to finding painting inspiration would be a good idea as well.)

I'm just going to list the tips here but please, please read the full post - the advice is so relevant. You’ll love the photography too…

.And special thanks to my friend and fellow artist, Jennie Castle who introduced me to Foxglove Lane

Monday 9 March 2015

So what about your Inner Critic?

WIP - Still - detail - oil on linen ©2015 Carol Lee Beckx

Frequently during my classes, my students express despair, saying:
“My work is no good - I’ll never be any good.”

This often happens when we are looking at the work of other artists for inspiration. 
It's crucial to be able to self-compare rather than compare oneself to others - especially when you are looking at work by someone who has been working at their art for years. 

Today's society plays its part in this lack of confidence. The emphasis is so much on "success", "achievement" and being the "best" that we lose sight of the pleasure of doing something for the sheer enjoyment of it. 

We are also masters of self-deprecation - “Oh I’m no good” and “This is rubbish” Are we being totally honest or are we secretly looking for praise but don’t want to be considered vain?

It's important to differentiate between being self-critical and looking at your work with a critical eye. Just as one shouldn't be too hard on oneself and one's efforts, I believe that simply accepting everything you do as "good" or "bad" in an almost knee-jerk reaction will prevent you from developing to the best of your potential.

It's important that one should learn to see where parts could be changed, improved or edited out. This is particularly true if you work on your own without any support structure. 

If you have a group of artists that you can turn to for communal sessions to share each other's work this collaboration will help give you insight into your work. 

One cannot always rely on family members to provide useful feedback. Automatic approval is lovely but not really helpful. Try to encourage them to give constructive criticism if they are interested in helping.
If your family is the kind that say: "but that doesn't look like..." and constantly make negative comments, encourage them to make one positive comment first before they point out the faults.

Here are a few practical suggestions to help assess your drawings and paintings:
  • Work first, judge later. 
  • Wait until you have done a fair amount of the project before you do any assessment. It's better to keep going, especially when embarking on a new project or when trying a different medium.
  • If you are working in a sketchbook resist the temptation to tear out a page that falls short of your ideal.
  • Date the work, turn the page and do another.
  • If it's a painting on canvas or paper turn it upside down for a fresh view
  • Look at the painting in a mirror and you'll see a different view.
  • Make sure you step away from the easel, if you're too close you lose sight of the big picture.

Listen to Ira Glass…talking about creativity.

P.S. Sorry to tease with another detail of this painting. 
Still is almost complete - it's taken a while but I have really enjoyed painting it - I think I don't want to stop...