Thursday, 18 May 2017

The Story of a Painting

This week two paintings went to new homes. The first, a triptych, Sinister Pools, is set in a beautiful part of the Southern Drakensberg just off the Underberg Road. When I re-read the post, I realised just how much I loved being near the mountains. During my last few years in South Africa, the mountains were the theme of several paintings. A deep connection to place, to country, remains.

When I arrived in Brisbane, I needed to acclimatise myself to Australia. I needed to find motifs that would speak to me in a personal way. I felt I had to move forward and discover the special places in my new country. In some ways, I was too emotional to keep painting South Africa. A clean break was necessary. Now I feel ready to revisit my history and paint the landscape of my birth once more.

I will be visiting my family in December and hopefully I will be able to include a visit to the mountains. 

Sinister Pools Triptych 3 x 910 mm x 610 mm

Here is the original post:

Sinister Pools - The story of a painting

High in the foothills of the Drakensberg Mountains of South Africa near Garden Castle, the Umzimkulu River spills out of the mountains and starts its journey to the sea. The river twists and turns its way through fertile farmland. As one turns off the main road from the village of Underberg to drive into the mountains, the river is alongside the road. The water tumbling over rocky cascades thrills adrenalin junkies on canoes.
In between there are deep dark pools that are part of the lore of the local trout fishermen. The mist rises off the river in winter at dawn and I imagine the atmosphere is dark, cold and sinister, hence the name. 

The triptych is a gentler version of the scene. I was not up at dawn to photograph the river and I haven’t battled with elusive trout. The day I was there it was sunny and clear. In the distance, the mountains were a soft lilac contrasting with the sharp green of the fields. 

Monday, 1 May 2017

Sktchy 30 - 30 sketches 30 days

There's satisfaction in meeting a challenge; in taking on something and seeing it through to the end. I have successfully completed Sktchy30 - 30 days, 30 sketches. Some days it's been a struggle to complete a sketch, with the post going up only at the end of the day. On two days I failed to post so the next day I did two to catch up. I've taken a few shortcuts, there have been the odd quick 10 minute sketch and on one occasion I used the quick sketch and did a little digital manipulation for the next day's post.

Rowan Atkinson as Maigret - brush pen on Tan Strahmore

I have explored the use of toned paper, a surface I've seldom used - and have begun to enjoy the results. I particularly like gouache and charcoal on this coloured paper.  
I've done more drawing with coloured pencils, and while I do love the meditative state that using this medium encourages, it's way too slow and time consuming for me. 

Now I confess that as the last days of April arrived, I'm rather relieved that the challenge is over. If you have trouble committing to daily drawing, then a challenge is good to get you going and keep you motivated. Generally I do something art related every day - drawing, painting, reading, or preparing for classes in the Studio, yet somehow having to meet a deadline each poses extra pressure. 

Thank you to Sktchy for the inspiring prompts each day and thank you to the Sktchy community of artists for your support and encouragement.
To see my profile and all the portraits on Sktchy please click on this link: 
Carol Lee Beckx on Sktchy

Graphite - Alpha softcover

Charcoal and white pastel on Tan Strathmore 
Sleeping baby - charcoal and white pastel on Tan Strathmore 

Black & white Ink 

Maria - Brown ballpoint pen 

Three Friends in a triple portrait - a catch up for a day missed. Ink on Zeta paper 

Isobel and her cats - A quick ink drawing - I loved the triple profile poses of these three...

And a little digital manipulation to the previous day's sketch. 

The beautiful Delia - Coloured pencils on Tan toned Strathmore.
Tara - Watercolour and gouache on Alpha paper

Beautiful Alena - Watercolour and gouache for the lace on Alpha paper

Daniel as Spider-Man watercolour and ink on Zeta paper - Sktchy Pick

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Sktchy30 - The halfway mark, meeting the challenge

There are plenty of challenges around. A recent one was #oneweek100 people; there's the 365 day drawing challenge; Celebrate ink in Inktober, etc. Frequently, I have started a challenge with enthusiasm and optimism only to abandon it halfway through. Sometimes it was due to the choice of prompts which were uninspiring (to me) sometimes other matters took priority.

When the Sktchy app came up with #Sktchy30 I thought that it was something I could achieve more easily than most of the other challenges. Each day a prompt from Sktchy arrives in my inbox. As an example, describe the rituals that get you creating; incorporating play into your work; the use of  colour; describe your workplace/studio environment.
Since the email arrives in Australia in the afternoon(early morning in the US) most of the day has passed before the prompt arrives. I prefer to start drawing early or even the day before which make using the prompt difficult. So I decided from the beginning to create my own challenge:
  • to see if I could use a different medium or try a different technique each day.
  • If time was an issue on a particular day then the sketch would be quick 5/10 minutes
  • If I had more time on another day, and had already completed a sketch, I would start something more ambitious to complete another day.

If I'm working later in the day and I can incorporate the prompt that is a bonus. So far the prompts have been more motivational than a specific theme or subject and my plan is working. I also remembered a toned sketchbook that I had hardly used. Experimenting with various mediums on this surface has been an interesting exercise. I think I might even grow fond of the paper! 
Here are some of the work created during the last two weeks. 

Watercolour on Alpha paper

Gouache on Alpha paper

Quick contour drawing - ink and wash

Digital drawing - Procreate

Colour added - Procreate

Gouache on Strathmore toned paper 

Experimenting with masking fluid and watercolour 

Mark Rothko - screenshot from a video about the artist

Portrait of Evelyn Nesbit - gouache on toned paper

Gouache on toned paper

Digital drawing - Procreate

Ballpoint pen, white ink and gouache