Friday, 21 October 2011

The Community of Artists

Artists need a community. Creating is a solitary experience, but we need to be able to bounce ideas off other artists, share inspirations, and help with the critical appraisal of our efforts.

Pascale's Orchids - oil on canvas - 380mm x 760mm 

© Carol Lee Beckx 2010
Painting in a studio of like-minded fellow artists is an enriching experience. I was really fortunate to have been able to spend one day each week in such a studio, learning and growing as an artist. The camaraderie is not easily replaced. Facing one’s work alone calls for stern self-appraisal and self-criticism. Often poor self-confidence undermines our rational assessment of our work. We need someone else to say – that’s OK you’re on the right path or – why not try this instead?

Thank you, Pascale, for the time I spent in your studio. I hope that I will also be able to create a studio environment where my students can grow in the same way.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Rock, sea and sand

Expressions 2011 is on show this coming weekend in Sandgate, Queensland. The painting below will be exhibited.

Rock, sea and sand - oil on canvas - 910mm x 910mm
© 2011 Carol Lee Beckx

This painting is a favourite of mine. The tactile quality of the massive rocks called for a different way of working with paint. Heavier impasto paint, layered and incised, glazes of colours and texture all contribute to the expression of monumentality and permanence.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Expressions 2011 - an exhibition in Sandgate

It's been a busy painting time for me.There’s another exhibition at Sandgate this weekend. I have three paintings included in the show. I think I've been on a bit of a "Pink Fest" with this one...

Magnolias - oil on canvas - 610mm x 910mm
© 2011 Carol Lee Beckx
 The Shorncliffe Pottery Club @ Sandgate organise this annual event, Expressions 2011, showcasing Pottery, Sculpture, Painting, Photography and Jewellery.

Expressions 2011 will be held in the function room of the Sandgate RSL, Keogh Street, Sandgate

Friday 21 st. October from 6.30 pm - 10.00 pm
Saturday 22 nd. October from 10.00 am - 6.00 pm
Sunday 23 rd. October from 10.00 am - 2.00 pm
If you are in the area, do come along and enjoy the art.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Woodford 2011 Biennial Art Exhibition

Still Life  with citrus - oil on canvas -600mm x 760mm
© 2011 Carol Lee Beckx
The Woodford Community Art Group presents their 2011 Biennial Art Exhibition this weekend. Woodford is a pretty town perhaps better known for the Folk Festival and for the fact that there’s a Correctional Facility in the town! 

The Field - oil on canvas - 700mm x 700mm
© 2011 Carol Lee Beckx

I have three paintings on show - two landscapes and the still life shown at the top of the post. The choice of paintings when showing at a new venue is hard. If one has no prior experience of an exhibition, one has no idea of the kind of work that will be on show.

Kalinga Trees - oil on canvas - 760mm x 1000mm
© 2011 Carol Lee Beckx
Kalinga Trees had it's origin in the watercolour sketches done at Kalinga Park. The Field is a painting that was started in South Africa but which I worked on once here.
The Still life with citrus satisfies my periodic need to paint in a more representational manner. So, I guess, in some ways the three paintings each show part of my artistic personality.

Monday, 10 October 2011

The Integrity of the artist - the materials debate

Kalinga Trees - detail

There’s been an ongoing debate between some of my artist friends in South Africa about the quality of materials used to create their paintings. Some advocate a comprehensive list of materials to be attached to each work. This would be rather like the mandatory list of ingredients on food packaging. Personally, I don’t think that’s the way to go. It places the focus on what’s gone into the work in the way of materials as though using top notch materials will ensure a masterpiece. It ignores the artistic ability of the artist and the concept behind the work.

Contemporary art has produced much that has a short lifespan. When I was at art school, acrylic paints were fairly new. Many artists made use of cheap household paints and today many still do with varying degrees of success and longevity. There are many artworks that will exist briefly before self-destructing.

Here in Australia all kinds of art materials, both imported and locally manufactured, are plentiful. Cheap canvasses and paints can be bought from hardware stores, supermarkets as well as speciality art stores. Some products are to be avoided at all costs while others are of better quality. It’s really a case of buyer beware.

The Field - detail

The good news for me is that oil paints are more affordable here than in South Africa. In particular, the Australian brand, Art Spectrum provides artists with a wide range of wonderful high quality pigments.

The irony is that for an artist, using the best equipment actually makes one’s task easier. A good brush makes expressive marks with ease and if cared for properly, will last for years. Top quality canvas is a joy to paint on and with artist’s quality oils in particular; the colours are loaded with pigment making a little go a long way. One has only to compare the lovely grey that results blending Winsor & Newton artist’s Cobalt Blue, Burnt Sienna and Titanium White with the same mixture using student grade paints

When painting in watercolour, using inferior brushes and poor quality paper spell disaster. If you’re a novice you really need all the help you can get. You don’t want to add a fight with the materials to your list of problems when learning a new medium.

So use the best you can afford. In this way you show respect both for yourself as an artist with integrity and for your collector who has invested in your work.
*The images above are details of paintings that will be on show this coming weekend at the Woodford Biennial Art Exhibition.