Monday, 31 December 2012

Where did 2012 go?

Highlights of my creative year...


Limited edition Sketchbook Project - completed and posted by the January deadline!


The Workshop component of my teaching was extremely fulfilling with the following topics covered:

  • Discover Drawing;
  • Colour - going back to basics;
  • Abstract Art;
  • Composition,
  • Line & Colour with Derwent
2013 will see these workshops continue. I plan to include more topics and offer some one day workshops in my studio each term.


2012 has been a very good year for commissioned paintings:

April - Memory Wall

Memory Wall - oil on canvas - 40 x 8" x 8"

May - Paintings for city apartment in Brisbane

September - Deja Bru Cafe
Paris - Deja Bru Cafe - acrylic on linen - 3 x 144" x 144"
October - Wearable Art Hairdressing

Pink Roses with Mirrors - oil on canvas - 1000mm x 1000mm
Plans for 2013

Now that my teaching studio has become more established, I can turn to my personal creative development. Drawing has become part of my artistic practice. I intend using my journals to experiment with mixed media and develop new ways to express ideas and themes that are important to me.

Moving out of the studio is something I would like to do. I need to plan how and where to paint so that is first on my list. Initially, with the heat of Brisbane summer at its highest, I might need to search out a couple of cooler places! (But at least I don't have to contend with snow!)

To my readers in all parts of the world - thank you for visiting Art Matters, it's so encouraging to see the number of visitors growing.

My wish for you this coming year is that you will have happy times with family and friends, good health, and may the creative muse remain by your side all year long...

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Picking a winner!

I nominated a winner! I am absolutely delighted that my nomination for Getting out of the Studio Making a Mark Awards is the winner.

I nominated Haidee-Jo Summers artist -ma vie en Couleurs because I was so impressed with her plein air paintings in all kinds of weather. Her paintings are fresh, vibrant and of a very high standard. I first came across her work at the time of the Diamond Jubilee from a link on Making a Mark. She was one of a number of artists selected to paint the 60th Jubilee River Pageant. She persevered when others were forced to abandon wet paintings.

Please go to the link here to read more about this award and do check Haidee-Jo’s blog posts about her very busy and successful painting year.

I have tremendous admiration for plein air painters. It’s something that was, unfortunately, not feasible in South Africa due to security concerns but certainly possible now that I am living in Australia. Reading Haidee-Jo’s posts has encouraged me to make the effort to get out of the studio with my easel and paints in 2013.

Congratulations Haidee-Jo on this well-deserved award!

Monday, 24 December 2012

Sketching out and about in Noosa

I've learnt a couple of things in the last few days. I need to be better organised to sketch...

Sketching at Organika
  • My lovely Lamy Safari pen has just run out of ink and the bottle is sitting back at home :(
  • I forgot to pack clips to hold the pages when it gets windy;
  • I forgot that my Moleskin sketchbook is lovely for pencil and ink but doesn't like watercolour at all.
I did learn, however, that Inktense pencils are great on the Moleskin paper so I will continue to use the sketchbook.
I discovered Organika five minutes down the road for delicious coffee....

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Seasons Greetings

I'd like to thank all my readers for your interest and support, it is much appreciated.

This comes with my good wishes at this holiday time. I hope you all have an opportunity to rest and relax.


Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Blogsy - holiday blogging made easier


Study for Drakensberg Mountains - graphite (imported from Flickr)
Blogsy is an app which makes blogging from an iPad more streamlined. I found out about the app through Mario Caoile's blog. It allows you to drag photos and videos from a number of different sources - Camera roll, Flickr, Picassa, You Tube etc. possible.
There are many other features which I have yet to explore - slowly, slowly!

Royal Doulton teacup & saucer - pen & ink

Christmas is around the corner and a week's holiday at Noosa on the Sunshine Coast lies ahead. A holiday unit on the river, a beautiful deck, the boat moored nearby - its a perfect opportunity to read, relax and maybe do some drawing.

Oh and perhaps some blogging too...


Thursday, 13 December 2012

Blog love

As the year gallops to a close, time has run away with me taking all my good intentions with it, mainly the plan to post at least once a week. (Don't even talk to me about a daily post - it's never going to happen!)

Well, I haven't done that lately. A commission that has been in the works for a while came to life and although I’d love to finish the painting before the Christmas holidays it’s unlikely that will happen.

I've been doing quite a bit of drawing having fallen in love with the Fabriano Venezia Sketchbook. (More about that later)

Seed Pods - graphite on Fabriano

So, I want to share a few links to blogs I have been following for a while. When you kick back and relax you will have something to browse through…

Wonderful photographs and gentle Irish words from FoxgloveLane

Mattias Adolfsson does intricately detailed pen drawings with a hint of watercolour - he has more than a fair share of imagination…

Paper Ponderings has talk about books, paper, calligraphy and wonderful photographs (and Fiona's a seriously nice person - I met her on a recent studio visit) 

I first read Euan Craig’s blog just after the Japanese Tsunami - he writes so eloquently. He is an Australian potter living in Japan. Do yourself a favour and scroll back and start reading the posts from March 2011 - this is the link

Finally, if you have a severe case of wanderlust but no travel fairy to buy your tickets then you will enjoy reading Hecktic Travels - exquisite photographs and good writing - it will make you want to pack your bags and go somewhere...

Do let me know how you get on - there'll be more another time.

Monday, 26 November 2012

High Tea - and fundraising

Yesterday was seriously decadent. I joined my daughter and her friends for High Tea at a local café - French & mor. Fragrant tea and delicious treats were the order of the day. We had great fun playing Secret Santa, swopping gifts - one of which was a much coveted African Violet.

Indulgent as the morning was, there was a serious side to the celebration. We all attended Tricia’s Girls Night In at the end of October, a Cancer Council fundraiser. 

The High Tea was donated as a prize by French & mor. The girls were successful to have the winning bid the night of the auction. In total the event was a huge success, raising over $16,000 for Cancer Council Queensland, which is truly amazing.

Of course I had to do a drawing....

Monday, 19 November 2012

Local business supporting local Artists

During the last year I have been really fortunate to receive commissions from a number of local businesses to create paintings for their premises. It’s reassuring that they have chosen to support a local artist in this way.

I would like to highlight three of these businesses who asked me to create artworks for their businesses.

  • Last November, I completed 3 paintings for Maverick Travel, for their Everton Park office. Here is a link to their Facebook Fan Page.

Collage of the three paintings for Maverick travel

Maverick Travel is the perfect team to plan your next dream holiday, cruise or round-the-world adventure, as well as all your business travel needs. They are also experts in 4+ star family travel.

Maverick Travel offers personally escorted small group tours (max 30 people) to the most spectacular and exotic regions of the world. Perfect for those with a sense of adventure, our tours include almost all sightseeing tours in the tour cost.

Maverick Travel is located at two convenient locations:
Everton Park
711 Stafford Rd
Contact Number 07 3355 3700
Shop 12, Samford Central,
Mt Glorious Rd 
Phone: 07 3289 3700

  • The second local business I worked with is a brand new Cafe` which opened three months ago. Since Deja` Bru is only a few minutes from my home, I don’t need to tell you it’s a favourite stop for coffee. The coffee is top class, the cakes are divinely sinful and the service is warm and friendly.

Collage of the painting for Deja` Bru Cafe`

Deja` Bru is located at Mc Dowall Village, corner of Beckett and Hamilton Roads, McDowall 4053. The contact number is 0438 794 398.
Please have a look and like their Facebook Fan Page.

If you are in a big hurry you can also download a free phone app called so you can order ahead.

  • Directly next door to the coffee shop, is Wearable Art Hairdressing, also located at McDowall Village, corner of Beckett and Hamilton Roads, McDowall 4053. 

Below is the painting I was commissioned to paint for the Salon.

The salon’s contact number is 07 3353 5255. The Facebook Fan page is here.
Be sure to check their blog for special offers.

Pink Roses with mirrors for  Wearable Art Hairdressing- oil on canvas - 1000mm x 1000mm 

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Workshops and Free demonstrations

This is my schedule of workshops and demonstrations for the next few weeks.

Art Shed Brisbane
Sunday 18th November 10.00am - 3.00pm

Workshop: Line and Colour with Derwent (For details click this link)
Please sign up at  Art Shed Brisbane 
Tel: 38461330 
274 Montague Road, West End

Abstract Rose - Sketchbook study - Derwent Artbars 

Arthouse Northside:
Composition - 3 week course
Fridays:  9th 16th and 23rd November 9.30am -12.30am
(It’s not too late to join the class this week.)
Please sign up at Arthouse Northside  
Tel: 38692444 
140 Braun Street Deagan 4017

Portofino - oil on canvas - 900mm x 900mm ©2012 Carol Lee Beckx

Arthouse Northside:
Friday 16th November 1.00pm - 2.00pm
Free Demonstration: Colour

Friday 23rd November 1.00pm - 2.00pm
Free Demonstration: Brushes - types of brushes for watercolour, acrylics and oils - their use and care.
No bookings are required for the Demonstrations - all welcome.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Market Night at Prince of Peace Lutheran College, Brisbane

I will be showing some paintings at the  2012 Prince of Peace Market Night on Friday, 2 November at 20 Rogers Parade, Everton Hills from 7 to 9.30pm

A new work Nymphea 910mm x 610mm oil on canvas will also be on show - this is a piece celebrating colour which I started after I completing the Paris Cafe paintings.

There will be some of my Memory Block series. These are all 8” x 8” oil on canvas and are designed to hang in a group.

There is a new Sapphire Field series.The name “Sapphire” originates in a special Art Spectrum oil colour - called - you guessed it - “Sapphire” These photos really don't do justice to the colours - you need to see them!

Some of the other works include the Cups and Bottles series  as well as some Shell paintings.

as well as some Shell paintings.

Magnolias, Pink Roses with Mirrors and Cups and Bottles are more of the larger works.

 Pink Roses with Pascale's Mirrors- oil on canvas - 505mm x 1002mm © 2012 Carol Lee Beckx

Cups and Bottles - oil on canvas - 610mm x 760mm © 2012 Carol Lee Beckx

Magnolias- oil on canvas - 610mm x 910mm © 2012 Carol Lee Beckx

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Line and Colour - drawing Demo at Art Shed Brisbane

Experimentation is both energising and inspirational. For the past couple of months I have been playing with various drawing mediums and in particular, the range of water soluble Derwent mediums - Derwent Sketching pencils, Graphitint Pencils, Tinted Charcoal, Inktense Pencils as well as the new ArtBars - the water soluble wax bar.

Salt Marshes - Artbars - Carol Lee Beckx

I will be demonstrating some of these next Saturday from 2 pm at Art Shed Brisbane Montague Road, West End.

 Salt Marshes - Langebaan - Inktense Pencils - Carol Lee Beckx 

I have used the Derwent Water soluble Sketching pencils for a number of years. I enjoy the fact that they are soft to draw with, come in three values: HB light wash; 4B medium wash; and 8B dark wash making them ideal for quick easy sketching.
There will be more about all of these in my next post when I’ll also post images of drawings using the different pencils.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Sketching out and about

The 13th October was The 37th World Wide Sketchcrawl, members of Urban Sketchers get together to go out and draw. I am aware of a group here in Brisbane and they were going to meet and draw in the city. As I had a class until 12 noon, I was unable to join them. In the spirit of the day I went off on my own. 

Top Nosh Café in Aspley, in addition to tasty food, has an array of interesting clothes, jewellery, antiques and gifts. This provided me with plenty to draw while having a cup (or two) of coffee.

Drawing with my Lamy Safari pen, Derwent Inktense pencils and Pentel waterbrush.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Colour - going back to basics

 “Colour has taken possession of me; no longer do I have to chase after it. I know that it has hold of me forever... Colour and I are one. I am a painter.” Paul Klee

Flinders Blue Violet oil on canvas 1000 mm x 1000 mm Carol Lee Beckx ©2012 

This is a three week course on Fridays from 9.30 am to 12.30 pm 
October 12th, 19th, 26th

Venue: Arthouse Northside
             140 Braun Street 
              Deagan 4017

There are so many wonderful tubes of colour available it’s often hard to know where to start. 
These classes will:

  • Explore basic colour palettes; 
  • Simplify colour mixing with practice in colour mixing and matching.
  • Unlock the secrets of harmonious colours;
  • The classes will give you confidence and inspire your use of colour. 
  • You will be able to put these basics into practice.
  • Students will each receive a printed copy of notes on Colour.
  • $120 for the course

Please book at Arthouse Northside Tel: (07) 3869 2444

If you need more information please contact me.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Artist's Studios

Artist's studios have long held a fascination for both artists and non-artists alike. On Saturday a friend and I took a drive up to the Sunshine Coast hinterland. Fiona Dempster’s blog Paper Ponderings mentioned the Open Studios so we decided to take a drive to explore these. It was a delight to enjoy her books and delicate calligraphy in real life. 

Fiona's pebbles

A more than a few mysteries were explained. Here is the website with all the details of the studios and how to find them.

Travelling through the picturesque area around Maleny and Montville, we visited a number of studios some tucked away down rough farm roads, many with spectacular views of the Glass House Mountains. The day was very hazy so the mountains were soft and gentle.

The studios we visited were all spacious and well equipped - I suffered severe studio envy!

After a delicious lunch at The Poet’s Café, we called in to The Main Street Gallery, Montville.  Christopher Pope is exhibiting his breathtakingly detailed acrylic paintings of Australian birds and wildlife.

At a view site I looked down and saw this little gem.

If you are in the Brisbane area do take a drive next weekend to explore the studios.. As there are about 20 studios, I would suggest you decide which to visit and plan a route ahead of time. 

It’s a lovely day out - the scenery is spectacular. As well as the studios, there are lots of wonderful galleries, shops and  many restaurants serving delicious food.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

One Hundred Posts

It's taken me a while to get there but this post marks the 100th since I started this blog. 

                           Work in Progress Detail: Nymphea - oil on canvas - Carol Lee Beckx ©2012 

In the intervening time I have:

  • Sold and packed up a house 
  • Sold my share of a family business
  • Bade farewell to family and friends
  • Moved continents - South Africa to Australia
  • Discovered many inspiring blogs and made virtual friends worldwide
  • Moved into my new home
  • Set up my studio
  • Started art classes
  • Built and planted a garden (with help from my kind son-in-law)
  • Learnt to swop some words i.e. "jumper" instead of "jersey" and  some new expressions  "no worries, mate"
  • Painted a number of paintings 
  • Won a few prizes 
  • Set up an Etsy site and made a sale
  • Made so many new friends - and this is the part that really makes me feel at home. 
Thank you, Australia for the warm welcome.

The image is a work in progress. I started this painting shortly before I received the Paris commission. 

It's been great fun to splash out in full colour. 

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Virtual travelling in Paris - blog by blog.

In a previous post, Deja Bru - The Project  l wrote about surfing the net for references for my Paris street scene. There are also numerous blogs that extol the delights of Paris. I turned to these for more inspiration.

Detail: The Eiffel Tower Deja Bru - acrylic on Linen Carol Lee Beckx

Some of these gave me a lamp post or a café chair; a tree lined street; a blackboard Menu handwritten in lovely French cursive; chimneys unique to Paris or the detail of a wrought iron balcony.

Thank you for the inspiration.

I thought you might enjoy a virtual tour of Paris, so here are some links:

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Deja Bru Cafe`

A photograph of the completed painting installed in the Cafe`

Deja Bru Cafe` - acrylic on canvas- 48" x 144" Carol Lee Beckx (iPhone photo)

Thursday, 6 September 2012

The Deja Bru Project

The commission was to create a Paris street scene for a new coffee shop Deja Bru at my local shopping centre. The brief was to include the Eiffel Tower, the buildings of Paris and street cafes painted in black and white. 

To prepare for the work I made a half size drawing of the scene. Half size made sense because the complete work would consist of 3 canvases each measuring 48" x 48". It was important make decisions about the composition where I could see the complete layout.

I obtained large sheets of good quality cartridge paper from Arthouse Northside, strong enough to withstand countless erasures during the drawing process. Two and a half sheets were joined and fixed to the studio wall with tape. Fortunately I had one wall that was long enough to do this!

I turned to the Internet to collect the necessary reference. Some images were a breeze -there are numerous wonderful images of the Eiffel Tower. Google Earth helped with the buildings. First I surfed the Net  for Paris cafes to get the addresses. Once I was there it was down to street view and I was in Paris. The view (complete with people) was then saved as a jpeg.

Sometimes I would want to see the building from further back so I'd move the Google man to a different place in the street only to find that the photo included a bus moving along in front of the building! 

Deja Bru left panel

Deja Bru centre panel

Deja Bru right panel

Once the drawing was approved, and after priming the canvases with good quality gesso, I squared up the canvases. The draft drawing was enlarged by doubling each element. 

Although the brief was for black and white, the painting needed to have tones of grey to add depth and to give more scope to do justice to the architectural details. Since the work was so large I used acrylics because they are fast drying, making it easy to move the canvases off the easels as I alternated between the three sections. The three panels were worked on at the same time keeping each at the same rate of progress to ensure continuity.

As I teach in my studio, the canvases needed to be moved to safety during the classes. It was useful not to have to contend with slow drying oils. Working exclusively in acrylics in tones of grey, black and white was a good exercise in tonal contrast - good lighting was essential. I was also swiftly reminded that acrylic paint dries darker - hmmm. I soon learnt to mix up larger quantities and save these in an air-tight container. In this way, the tones remained more constant and would not dry out too quickly. 

As the work progressed, the client suggested including the name of the cafe, so Deja Bru was transplanted to a street in Paris - with a dash of red. 

Final touches included more black and white in looser brush strokes - and it's done.

The paintings were installed last night and I must admit I am pleased. I'll post a photograph soon.

Monday, 3 September 2012

In the Spotlight as a Featured Artist

At the recent Brisbane Art Fair I met artist Janine Whitling. It was a serendipitous meeting as I had found her blog through Seth Apter’s recent Treasure Hunt so it was great to meet her in person.

She asked me to answer some questions about myself as a featured artist for her blog. It was quite a strange experience but good to sit back and look at myself in this way.

These answers plus some kind words about my work feature on her blog today. 

Here is the link to the Featured Artist post.

Her website - Art by Janine Whitling is here. It features her paintings, mixed media pieces ( my favourites) and jewellry. 

Thank you for thinking of me, Janine.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Milestones - two years on

The first post for Art Matters was written two years ago. I have come a long way literally and figuratively since then. Two years ago when I wrote A New Beginning and Deciding to Move, I was in the process of emigrating to Australia. 

This December I will have been here for two years. The process  began back in May 2008 and at times it has been really difficult. Leaving family, friends and the known for a venture in a new country is a daunting prospect. In spite of the difficulties I have no doubt that it was the best decision. I am doing what I love every day and for that I am so grateful.

The Paris commission is almost complete. It has been so rewarding to research the project and bring it to fruition.

Here’s another detail from the painting - all will be revealed soon…

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Painting Paris - work in progress

The painting of the streets of Paris is progressing slowly but surely. I have worked on each of the three canvases in rotation so each is brought to the same degree of finish simultaneously. This allows me to keep tonal values constant and ensure that the work is cohesive across the three separate canvases.

Although the brief is essentially for a black and white painting I needed to add tones of grey to add depth to the piece. Now I am starting to add more black and white and those areas are really starting to pop.

Today I added some street lights and the first tree and I feel as though Paris is becoming more real. 

Parts of the Eiffel Tower are also almost done.

The cafe`s and the people are now my major focus. It's hard to say how much longer I'll need but I am quite pleased with the rate of progress. Working in acrylics has made the work go quickly as I haven't had to wait for paint to dry. (Sometimes it's dried rather too quickly but that's the nature of the beast!)