Subject Matter

I am often asked why I paint 'what I paint', not only does this humble me but it also interests me.

"Why do you paint girls?"

Georgia O Keefe strung together sounds that I cannot match in describing the 'why'...

"I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way" - Georgia O Keefe.

To me, words are dust, I have long ago abandoned the notion that words hold truth and value... I observe and I watch, I feel and I see and I wait for truth to be exposed through actions. I paint girls because I can relate to them, they are pieces of me, bite sized memories, things I remember and I change the colors to the way I see color when I have my eyes closed.

I paint form because I am intrigued by the way the body moves, how much a body can say in a simple posture. I paint them unclothed so that they are exposed and honest with nothing to hide behind. I have much still to explore with regards to composition but I know that through form I find myself able to communicate, combined with color and contrast I can challenge perception.

'Why are they so sad?' I am asked this often as well.

I personally think pain can be beautiful, it is not angry or aggressive, the way I illustrate pain is submissive, there can be internal peace when you are challenged to understand pain through acceptance. Resolution occurs through this process, resolution encourages growth. We all fight demons, I fond the battle to be in vain, I want to acknowledge mine, identify them, learn from them I want to understand them, befriend them, play with them, pacify them, perhaps in time we can reach a compromise...

Yes, 'my girls' are sad, because they have seen and heard things, they have watched humans devour each other, poison the air we breathe with lies and falsity, with envy and jealousy. They feel helpless, overwhelmed at the odds of the world being at peace and internally channeling their own insecurity, faced with their own human error, ashamed by evidence of hypocrisy and passionately defending their right to be good in a world that promotes destruction.

"It was not dying that mattered, it was the sadness, the wonder. The few good people crying in the night. The few good people." - Charles Bukowski



Creating a Cohesive Body of Work

Creating a cohesive body of work is highly encouraged, it allows patrons, collectors and gallery owners to receive your message through viewing a visually appealing series of work from a specific period in time.

Imagine turning the pages of a storybook, the story makes sense when the pages are relative, piecing pages from different, unrelated stories together and expecting the viewer to understand what you are trying to say, makes less sense…

For months I have been drawn to images of the vintage circus, the ‘forgotten performers’. I toyed with the idea that we, as a society are the circus act and our silent, imaginary, audience watches us from dusty dark corners of a mouldy stage, with sad eyes. Pained by our current collective human condition. I felt a strong pull to convey this message through my work, the theme ‘asks’ me for representation, it’s not so much a choice but a desperate need for a story to be told…

Subject matters... Create mood boards, 'creative maps'. The purpose of a mood board is to guide you in executing the initial message with intention. 

Sketch, pay attention to the negative space in each piece and how that space interacts in your body of work. The sketches play an important role in knowing what size canvas you will need, they also allow you to determine whether or not your message is impactful, where you need to say more and where you should say less.

 Photo Wizard: @shadow1188

Photo Wizard: @shadow1188

Decide on the shapes and sizes of your work, how many pieces do you want to show? Once I have decided on my theme and I have my collection sketched out, I build my frames and stretch my canvas, according to my needs.

Below are some interesting canvas shape theories:

  • Horizontal – peaceful
  • Vertical – majestic/active
  • Square – risky, contemporary
  • Standard – traditional

Maintaining a cohesive color palette does not necessarily mean you are restricted to the colors you select, you may decide to have one specific over powering color juxtaposed with muted tones. Selecting color is also very personal to the artist, psychologically we are individually drawn to different palettes and tones.

Make Work, the process itself can be daunting, the fear I feel before making work reminds me that I could fail and I am then forced to work with fierce intention, so that I don’t.

This is by no means 'the correct way' to build your own body of work, if your preference is to create a body of work that looks like it belongs in 'Art Through the Ages' and that makes you feel authentic then that is lovely.

 B E K K Y B E U K E S

Photo Wizard: @shadow1188