Thursday 31 December 2015

2015 - A List

A collage of watercolours from the Pecolator Exhibition

  • New Years Eve at Coolum Beach - sketching
  • 4th January - my first visit to Sydney - at the Museum of Contemporary Art seeing Chuck Close was a highlight; meeting Liz Steel and the Sydney urban sketchers  IRL was another.
  • Aspire Gallery - Petit Pieces Exhibition
  • Brisbane Collective - my sketch in print!
  • Facebook Art Challenge
  • Discovered Sktchy app
  • Deep Ripple selected as a finalist for the Moreton Bay Regional Art Award
  • Pond Reflections selected for the Lethbridge 10,000
  • Still selected for the Rotary Art Spectacular at Waterfront Place - Watching and Rocks 24th December 2014 selected for the online exhibition - and Watching found a new home.
  • Deep Ripple selected as a finalist for the Moreton Bay Regional Art Award
  • Pond Reflections selected for the Lethbridge 10,000 and Paperbark for the online exhibition. 
  • A Gold Coast escape - a few days sketching
  • Holiday workshops - The popular Introduction to Oils and a Painting Bootcamp
  • A week away in Noosa and a Cedar Pocket - more sketching
  • Nundah Village Art Exhibtion - 4 paintings on show
  • cARTwheel Collabortative exhibition at Percolator Gallery with three artist friends, and quite a few paintings found new homes...
  • Miniatures and ink drawings at The Good Hatt Paddington Antique Centre
  • Queensland State Library - teaching at a workshop for Peace.
  • 10th December - An Anniversary - five wonderful years in Brisbane
  • Still busy with Sktchy
  • a few watercolour commissions
  • And we've rolled around to the beginning and it's summer holidays again!
  • Happy New Year to all of you - stay safe - stay creative.
I've added some links (in pink!) so you can re-visit my year.

Thursday 24 December 2015

A wish for you at Christmas

It's Christmas Eve in Australia. I'm on my way up to Noosa on the Sunshine Coast, one of my favourite places. I'm lucky enough to be spending this holiday time with my family. I hope that during this holiday time you will find time to rest and relax.

Saturday 19 December 2015

Visiting the Art Galleries - APT 8

Last week the first day of the holidays started with a visit to the dentist my grandchildren. When the children were asked what they were going to do afterwards they said "We're going to the Art Gallery". The dentist's reply made me sad. He said he had never been to an art gallery - ever. I realised that for many people an art gallery is something completely outside their experience.

One of the things that I love about living in Brisbane is that the Queensland Art Gallery and the Gallery of Modern Art - QuaGoma have such a creative approach to exhibitions. There's always something magical going on, and always something that both children and adults will love. Over the summer holidays there's always a biggie with lots to enjoy for all ages. This summer it's the Asia Pacific Triennial 8.

On the drive to the gallery the children remembered how much they enjoyed some previous exhibitions. - this is a link to a post about these.
I was asked - “Are we going to see the spotty room? (Yayoi Kusama's The Obliteration Room here a white room was transformed with hundreds of coloured spots) Or maybe it’s the Sugar room?" (We miss you magic land 2011 - a fairy tale world created with sugar crystals). 

We would just have to see what was in store for us; perhaps today's visit will be as memorable.

                             Mandala of Flowers - an installation by Choi Jeong Hwa

The Mandala of Flowers is an installation by Choi Jeong Hwa. Viewed from the upper level one is transported into a different world. Down below a carpeted circle is covered with hundreds of coloured discs of different sizes.

A riot of Colour

Wait - discs? Lids - these are all just lids, different sizes of plastic lids - so simple but how the space is transformed. Children are encouraged to create mandala-like shapes with the coloured shapes.

Playing with Shadows

We only read the instructions as we were leaving so didn't keep to the suggestion to make a mandala but it didn't matter. The children had fun and spent ages creating a Christmas tree and a reindeer from the coloured lids. It was surprising to realise how long they were busy - my photos show the finished creations 40 minutes later. 

We wandered through the other exhibits making our way to GOMA and lunch. The Long Gallery has an installation that is both sculpture and sound effects. Surprised kids climbing on the sleeper structure were greeted with booming sounds - such fun. 

Everyday Whispers in the GOMA River Room has a booth where they whispered wishes to be added to the secret sound cloud. The collected wishes are played through a bank of speakers suspended from the ceiling. As you walk underneath the wishes float down.

There's so much to see that I'll definitely be back for another visit or two. APT kids have at least a dozen different activities - more than one day could easily be spent here. There's much for adults to enjoy as well. It's an ideal place to escape the heat of the Brisbane summer. You might just have a struggle to find parking so coming by bus or train is recommended. The exhibition is on until April and it's free. 

Wednesday 9 December 2015

Five years on...

Today, five years ago I landed in Brisbane from South Africa. It was the culmination of a long process of visa application; of documents and bureaucracy; of waiting and waiting; of living in limbo for almost two years. 
Arriving at Brisbane airport was now the beginning of a wonderful adventure.In some ways the time has flown yet now I feel so at home that it seems though I've been here forever. 

Glimmering Fragments of the Mist - oil and silver leaf on linen

Not long after my arrival it started to rain and rain. Then in January 2011, Queensland faced the terrible floods. Everything in the city came to a standstill and all my plans for getting to know my new home were put on hold. I certainly became familiar with the geography of the region as area after area was inundated by the flood waters. Eventually life got back to normal and I settled in. Once in my own home six months later, I opened my Studio and started teaching. I've never looked back.

Sure there were times when it was very hard. It's really hard to leave family behind. Not being able to visit my family often is the hardest. Fortunately, modern communication does allow us to keep in touch easily. My family were my rock - supporting my decision to emigrate and being there when I needed to talk. 

To all my friends in Australia, thank you. Thank you for welcoming me to your country, for supporting me and making it possible for me to live my dream.

The painting above is a favourite - it's inspired by misty morning walks in the park across the road from my house - how lucky can a person be?

Monday 30 November 2015

Inertia in the Studio

Do other artists suffer from a state of inertia after an exhibition? After all the last minute work to complete paintings, inventories and photograph work when it’s all over it’s almost an anti-climax. Instead of being fired up and inspired I found that I was drifting around the studio. Perhaps it also because over the last couple of weeks  the studio has been busy with workshops; perhaps because Brisbane Summer has arrived early and with a vengeance; perhaps because the end of 2015 is rushing towards us at breakneck speed and we'd like to put the brakes on and slow down just a little.

But last week I had an injection of enthusiasm, well a couple of injections to be honest. Firstly, I received a couple of commissions which is a lovely way to end the year. I’ll tell you more about these paintings later when they are completed. 

The second is that I've been doing a couple of Sktchy portraits again. I'll share one with you now.  I'm happy to say the drawing it was chosen as a Sktchy 'Pick'. The weekend theme was #WAXforeshorten. When I saw this image it made me think of my mother and her hands so I was quite emotionally vested in the subject.
I intended to add watercolour to the graphite but in the end I decided to leave the drawing as you see it.

Grandma's Hands - Graphite on Fabriano Grana Satinata

And here's the Sktchy screenshot:

Monday 9 November 2015

Peace and Quiet at the State Library Queensland

On Saturday I was one of the tutors helping at a painting workshop held at the State Library Queensland. The activities during the afternoon were part of the final days of  Distant Lines: Queensland voices of the First World War.

Members of the public were able to create a painting depicting their concept of peace. Canvasses, paint and brushes were provided. We used tubs of Mont Martre Dimension acrylic paint in wonderful vibrant colours. All the materials used during the workshop can be purchased at  Art Shed Brisbane.

Peace and Quiet
There are opportunities for artists who are invited to contribute an artwork of a peaceful landscape to be displayed in SLQ Gallery as part of the exhibition. This can be a painting, drawing, print, photograph or stitchery, and must be a figurative or semi-figurative work (ie. not abstract).

Some wonderful paintings were created – here are a few of them. I had a business card with the artists’ details which unfortunately went into the wash – never to be the same again so unfortunately they must remain anonymous!
A selection of the paintings will be exhibited with the exhibition from 28 November 2015 – 14 February 2016.

 Nature's Bonsai by Maureen Young 
( I took a  photo of the reverse of this canvas so I can credit the artist)

Another activity was to make a badge for peace – I couldn’t resist using some paint to make my own. Here's my badge on the  SL T-Shirt. 

When we were packing up there was a lot of paint left over so while emptying the palettes I created my own “painting” – just a pity it was on newspaper and not on a canvas!

A reminder that the text within the post in colour is a link to the relevant website.

Wednesday 28 October 2015

cARTwheel Collaborative exhibits at Percolator Gallery, Paddington, Brisbane

Four artists, members of cARTwheel Collaborative Janine Whitling, Giovanna Scott, Vicki Donaldson and I will be exhibiting at Percolator Gallery in Paddington from Wednesday 11th November to Sunday 15th November 2015.

As always, there will be a wide variety of exciting work on display. It's a good time to find some wonderful gifts for Christmas. 

The work I will be showing will be a selection of recent paintings - some large and medium-sized landscape paintings with the themes of ponds, reflections and trees.

In addition there will be some small framed watercolours that will make ideal gifts. After working in oils for most of this last year, I'm enjoying painting these still life subjects in watercolour and loving the smaller, more intimate format.

We will hang the exhibition on Tuesday 10th so  the exhibition will be open from Wednesday.
It will run until Sunday 15th November. Opening hours are 10.00am - 6.00pm Wednesday to Friday; 9.00am - 4.00pm Saturday and Sunday.

If you would like to chat to me about the exhibition I will be in the gallery for most of the day on Wednesday 11th November. 

We'd love you to join us on Friday 13th at 6.00pm for drinks and nibbles. 

In the meantime, and keeping it real, here's what my studio looks like today! 

Monday 19 October 2015

The Good Hatt at Paddington Antique Centre

On Friday afternoon I met up with Lindy Hatt in Paddington. She and her friend Martha Good have opened The Good Hatt, a store within Paddington Antique Centre. 

 The Good Hatt at Paddington Antique Centre

Lindy says…”We love to stock "Items of Enchantment" in particular artwork, American Indian jewellery, porcelain, shells, fossils and beautiful objects.”

I am honoured to have some of my miniature paintings and ink drawings available in the shop. These are framed in special miniature frames, in keeping with the centuries-old tradition of miniature art. 

Two miniatures: Porcelain & Tomatoes and Artichokes

Through the Arch - Belgium  -watercolour size: 65mm x 75mm

Shadows Bokkidick Farm Cornwall - watercolour Framed Size: 120mm x 105mm

All the paintings and drawings being exhibited at The Good Hatt can be found on the Exhibitions page here on my blog.

You can connect with The Good Hatt on their Facebook Page and Instagram - thegoodhatt

Do yourself a favour and pay a visit - there will be plenty to tempt you.

Wednesday 30 September 2015

A week away

On Sunday I returned from a week away. I spent a few days in Noosa with my family, sketching along the river and on the beach. Then I went to Cedar Pocket for a long weekend of sketching with fellow artists. It was great to be in the country away from the hustle and bustle of the city. 

I spent my time in Noosa along the river and down at the beach – boats and people caught my attention there.

Lochiel 1938 - ink and watercolour Alpha sketchbook

Beach People - ink in Alpha sketchbook

A trip to the Eumundi market was perhaps unwise given that it was school holidays. I drove around in vain looking for a parking place so I gave up and stopped on the side of the road to sketch this old truck.

The Old truck - ink and watercolour Zeta Sketchbook

At Cedar Pocket two themes emerged – trees and bridges. I did a number of sketches of the trees, my attention held by the shapes of the trunks and the spaces in between. These sketches are all in ink and watercolour in an Alpha sketchbook.

Tatnell Bridge on the road to Kin Kin looks in danger of falling down, and indeed it seems in line for an upgrade if the surveyors markers alongside are any indication of proposed work. It will be a pity because the old beams are great to draw. 

Tatnell Bridge on the Kin Kin road, Queensland -ink and watercolour Alpha sketchbook

The second bridge, the Dickabram Bridge, was an old heritage listed dual purpose road-and-rail bridge crossing the Mary River at Miva. It was built in 1886 of wood and steel and is the oldest surviving of its kind. When a vehicle moves over the bridge, rattling over the timber slats, it sounds like thunder. 
Dickabram Bridge on the Mary River at Miva - ink and watercolour Zeta sketchbook

Mary River Panorama 

Friday 18 September 2015

Sharing Favourites IV - Brian Rutenberg

Brian Rutenberg is an American painter – his work is an explosion of colour and paint – I guess you could call him a landscape painter, an abstract landscape painter.
I’d just like to call him inspiring.

Enjoy his paintings here on his website.

And here's my favourite - videos where he talks about his work in a series called Studio Visit. To date there are 45 of these. But do start at the beginning, there’s so much to be enjoyed. Here's a link to Studio Visit 1.

The Reader - mixed media on paper 320mm x 240mm © 2015 Carol Lee Beckx
Available on Etsy

Tuesday 15 September 2015

Portraits on Etsy

Drawing portraits using the Sktchy app has been a rewarding experience. Some of these have now been added to my Etsy shop. These are listed in a section for Original Portraits. This is the link

Although strictly speaking this painting is not a proper portrait in the true sense of the definition it's one of my favourites.

 Leaping - watercolour on Canson Montval Rough 270gsm 10" x 11"

The portraits are done on watercolour paper and will be shipped unframed in a secure waterproof padded bag to keep postage costs down. 

An additional option is to commission a portrait using your own photograph. Please contact me directly to discuss this.

Monday 7 September 2015

Paintings at Nundah Village Art Exhibition

This weekend it's the annual Nundah Village Art exhibition. I have four paintings that will be exhibited. The artwork can be viewed on Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th September, from 10.00 am to 3.00 pm both days.

Exhibitors can enter work in various categories: Landscape, Contemporary, Portraiture and Still Life, as well as a section for sculpture. I have paintings in four categories, so each work is quite different. 

Low Tide - Currumbin Beach is of a particular place and time. It recalls a bright winter day - a cold wind - a very low tide and white light reflecting off the sea. The human element, the little girl is there, but dwarfed by the vast stretch of beach - she's the only one to brave the chilly wind.

If you would like to see the process of this painting, I have complied a Flipagram here.

Low Tide - Currumbin Beach - oil on canvas ©2015 Carol Lee Beckx

Strata has a very different feel. I've been working on this painting for quite a while. It's the kind of painting that has to take time; like the way the geology of the earth is built up layer upon layer over time. Certainly this is not a motif that can be rushed. I enjoyed the change of pace with this painting, using gentle muted colours and abstract shapes, hinting at the layers of the earth.

Strata oil on canvas ©2015 Carol Lee Beckx

My entry for the Portraiture section is Reflection. It's a portrait of my Great Niece, reflected in a nearby window - sitting quietly on some boxes - totally absorbed in her own thoughts. 

Reflection - oil on linen ©2015 Carol Lee Beckx

The last painting is Love Dahlia -  watercolour on paper, my favourite pink makes an appearance here.  

Love Dahlia - watercolour on paper - framed ©2015 Carol Lee Beckx

When I look at these four paintings together I realise that my star sign, Gemini, is evident here - a different person seems to have been involved with each one...

Friday 4 September 2015

Sharing favourites III - Creativity

This week we continue the theme of our habit of  judging ourselves and our creative work started last week with 'Compared to...' 

In this video Ira Glass talks about creativity

Blue Porcelain teacup - watercolour 

Wednesday 2 September 2015

Sketching in Milton

Yesterday I joined the Urban Sketchers Brisbane for a morning of sketching. We met at La Dolce Vita in Park Road. I had been able to find a place for my car near Milton House a rare surviving example of 1850s Georgian architecture, so spent the hour’s parking time doing a quick watercolour sketch.

Milton House - ink & watercolour Zeta Sketchbook

Moving around the corner, I stopped for coffee at Mary Ryan’s Books Music and Coffee. There were plenty of men in suits having earnest meetings. Browsing in a proper bookstore is a favourite occupation, but today I was here to draw a couple of people.  

Park Road Shoes and other buildings - ink & watercolour Zeta sketchbook

There was a good view of the modern buildings from across the road so I sat on a low wall and completed an ink drawing. I enjoyed the geometry of these buildings adding the watercolour later at home. Then I joined the other sketchers at La Dolce Vita caffe`. Here there is also plenty to sketch - statues, elaborate lights and of course people.These two statues look as though they are waiting on the gent in the centre!

La Dolce Vita - De Artramentis Fog Grey & W&N watercolour marker Zeta Sketchbook

Friday 28 August 2015

Sharing Favourites II - Seth Godin

Seth Godin needs little introduction – he’s an author, entrepreneur and public speaker.
I love the fact that his posts are generally short and succinct – he cuts to the heart of the matter.

Artists are faced with this daily struggle – how does this painting/drawing/sculpture measure up? Is this any good? Am I wasting my time? We continually beat ourselves up over the standard and worth of our work, in an ever self-defeating cycle.

This post about has special relevance for artists.  

Read his wise words here: Compared to…

Love Dahlia - watercolour on paper 270mm x 270mm © 2015 Carol Lee Beckx
This painting will be exhibited in the Nundah Village Festival Art Exhibition in September.

Wednesday 19 August 2015

Sharing Favourites I - The Savvy Painter

Today I'm starting something new. It's a way of sharing posts and blogs that have become favourites over the last few years.

Hopefully it will become a regular feature of Art Matters so you can look forward to catching up with blogs and people I enjoy. I'm purposefully going to keep each post short and keep the focus on one artist, blog or a particular post that resonated with me. I'll add these links to a dedicated page at the top of the blog for future reference.

Strata - oil on canvas 760mm x 760mm © 2015 Carol Lee Beckx

Listening while you work 

Most artists have little rituals when they start work in the studio. My painting time begins when I put on my apron, originally black but now more white than black. While in the studio, I listen to music or talk shows on the radio. 

Recently I discovered The Savvy Painter, podcasts by Antrese Wood. Her podcasts are interviews with a wide range of artists. It's so much more than a podcast, however. It's a resource where you'll find information on other artists, art books, and much more. They talk about their work, their inspirations, art education amongst many other topics, ably directed by Antrese's insightful questions. Her lovely conversational tone makes these a delightful accompaniment to painting.

About an hour long, these discussions keep me painting. They keep my left brain occupied and informed while my right brain is free to work on creative solutions. If I get caught up in my painting and tune out, I simply stop the podcast and go back to replay a section I have missed.Sometimes I find if I have music playing, I listen too much - if that makes sense - and lose focus on my painting, words are easier to have running in the background. I'll be interested to know what you think about this.

Each podcast is accompanied by detailed notes on the episode including links to the website of the images of the artist being interviewed, other artists discussed, and books mentioned during the show. 

I hope you will enjoy the podcasts as much as I do.

Friday 14 August 2015

More Sktchy Portraits

It's been three months since I developed a new obsession - using the Sktchy app to create portraits. I've written about the portraits before, but I'd like to share a few of my newest sketches.

In this day of the endless selfie, and the current love of sharing these on social media, there's an endless supply of wonderful people to be inspired by. 
Many people who are on Sktchy have no plan to create any portraits, they are content to post creative photos of themselves for others to use. Are we becoming a tad self-obsessed?

Each weekend there's a different challenge, the Weekend Art Extravaganza. It may be  #WAXinyourshoes - creating a portrait in the style of a fellow Sktchy artist whose work you admire; or it may be #WAXinmotion where the aim is to capture movement. 

The lovely photograph of this little girl jumping with delight over a puddle of water made a perfect reference to use for #WAXinmotion. I was delighted that it was featured as a 'Sktchy Pick' 

 Jumping watercolour and gouache

Last weekend it was #WAXmini - making a very small portrait and photographing your painting with something to show the scale. Some years ago I painted many miniatures so it was fun to re-visit the world of the small. I had to search for my smallest 3/0 brush to paint this portrait.  
Yasmin - watercolour on Canson Hot press paper

Often when working on paintings in the studio I'm reluctant to experiment and I realise it's important to make time to play; to use different materials; to try another technique. These portraits give me the impetus to do just that - use an unusual colour; add a lively wash to the background of a ink drawing - and in this case, deciding to leave the portrait itself in black and white, adding no watercolour washes to the face. 

Men and beards is another favourite theme - here are two of Ronin Memphis. What a magnificent beard - a pity it's now been trimmed !!  

RoninI Ink and watercolour

Ronin II Ink and watercolour

And here's a portrait of the co-founder of the app - Jordan Melnick

Jordan Ink and watercolour Beta sketchbook

Sktchy has a Tumblr site where many of the portraits can be viewed as well as interviews with some of the artists. 

And of course, here's a link to the Sktchy app itself is where you’ll find all the action!

Thursday 30 July 2015

Connecting with Collectors

In December I spent a few weeks at the beach - watching people; staring at the sea; sketching and taking photographs. Over the last few months, these experiences have resulted in a few paintings.

Sometimes when you paint a subject that touches you; when it is something that strikes a chord within you; something that makes you want to share the experience; you wonder if you will be able to get the message across to the viewer. You know how you felt when you first connected with the scene that inspired you - but how can this be expressed?

This week I had confirmation that one such connection had been made. I received a message from a buyer who had recently purchased "Watching". I asked permission to tell her story so here it is...

She said:
"I have received your "Watching" painting in the mail today. I absolutely love it!!...Thank you!! When I first viewed it in the Rotary Online Gallery I had tears rolling down my face as it reminded me of my darling Granny at the beach - same stance and hat! I turned 40 this year & was going to buy an art piece to mark the occasion. When I saw this, 'Watching' had to be it! Thank you so much."

Watching - oil on canvas 915mm x 610mm ©2015 Carol Lee Beckx

There's more about the holiday in this post Inspiration from Coolum Beach
and this post discusses saying goodbye to favourite paintings: Artist and Viewer and more sketches from Coolum here: Sketching as the year draws to a close.

Thursday 23 July 2015

A Gold Coast Escape

Last week, on the spur of the moment,  I decided to take a couple of days off. Friends on the Gold Coast are always very welcoming and provided very comfortable accommodation.
The weather in Queensland has been colder than is usual for winter, and some places have even had snow. While I was there, the days were sunny but the wind was rather icy so it was important to stay in a sheltered spot. 

I explored Paradise Point and did a bit of sketching while listening to music from the nearby market.  I decided to re-visit a previous favourite place for lunch. Madam Tojo's Coffee Palace has a fascinating collection of books, shop dummy's, red roses, draped fabrics and feathers, all creating an eclectic quirky atmosphere. 

It's definitely a 'slow food' place - if you want fast food you're invited to move off elsewhere, so it's the perfect place to sit and sketch. No one is going to hurry you along and want your table for someone else. I decided on the special and it was delicious. My modus operandi when sketching my meal is to do a rapid sketch of the elements of the dish - sometimes in ink, sometimes in graphite; take a couple of photos for reference, and then enjoy the meal. Definitely no cold food for me! Then afterwards I can take my time with the sketch, adding ink and watercolours. I had forgotten my white gel pen so details of the chalk board menu were added at home later.

Slow Roasted Pumpkin, Baby Spinach, Poached Egg, crispy Bacon with Peperonota
ink and watercolour 

On Monday, a friend and I went further down the coast, stopping along the way at Kirra Beach and driving on to Currumbin. Here the Currumbin Victory Surf Lifesavers Club provided a warm and cosy place to enjoy the view, a coffee and share a slice of cheesecake. The clubhouse with huge windows facing the sea meant that I could do a sketch of the sea and the rocks below, while staying warm and comfortable. 

View from Currumbin Victory Surf Life Savers Club - ink and watercolour 

The tide was low and the sun was bright. A meandering stream of silver curled its way through the sandbanks and back to the sea - I know this will be inspiration for a painting or two.

On Tuesday morning I had time to be a tourist. I decided to have a ride on the new tram which runs from the Gold Coast University Hospital down to Broadbeach. On the way down I had my eye open for suitable sketching opportunities as well as a spot that would be sheltered from the icy wind. Cavill Avenue tram stop looked the most interesting so I returned from Broadbeach and alighted there. The Clock Hotel, its intricate clock tower all the bells was an obvious choice. Baritalia café situated directly next to the hotel provides both a sunny position as well as coffee and lunch.

Clock Hotel - ink and watercolour  Carol Lee Beckx 

I often wonder what people think when I'm searching for a good place to draw. I sit at one table - check the view - no good - get up and move to another table - better but not great- ah - third time lucky, a perfect view of the facade of the hotel and a good sunny position. 

After I had completed the drawing of the Clock Hotel I decided I had time for lunch. I wasn't intending to draw my meal but when it arrived it looked so delicious, and begged to be sketched. 

Ravioli Fritti at Baritalia - ink and watercolour ©2015 Carol Lee Beckx

And my Ravioli Fritti tasted as good as it looked. 

It was a lovely escape to the Gold Coast. A complete album of my sketches can be found on here my Flickr site.