Let's Make a Creative Mess!

Hi Fellow Art Friends,

Apologies for not writing on my blog in recent months. I have been taking a sabbatical from writing and concentrating on family/work/life balance. Some days I just focus on breathing to get through the juggling act! I’m sure many of you feel the same? Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids, they teach me so many wonderful life lessons but they are active boys who require my total attention at times.

Delicous Margan veg

Delicous Margan veg

Various sketchbooks in process

Various sketchbooks in process

Last week I posted an image of my cache of sketchbooks which I’ve collected from my recent collaboration with Margan Family Wines. It’s been lovely drawing weekly in their garden; documenting the plethora of organic veg and fruit. It’s a visual feast for the eyes. It it a nice reminder of my "In Season" series too.

A Facebook friend commented that her daughter fills her sketchbooks with drawings too. It made me realise how special childhood is to our artistic freedom and a particular life lesson my kids have taught me.

I encourage my boys to draw outside the lines. Experiment with shapes, colours and marks. Play with the layering of colours and show the journey of the work. All the time simply having fun with the process.

It’s important to celebrate the process of making art and be present in the moment. Try not to have a fixed attachment to a goal or to make the work resemble something figurative. I feel young kids love this style of working. We were all a Picasso or Van Gogh in our childhood.

Our home office with the boys artworks displayed on the wall.

Our home office with the boys artworks displayed on the wall.

It’s when kids reach high school that they can give up. When their drawings don’t “look real” they tend to stop trying. This is when we should really encourage our kids to keep going. Keep looking. Keep experimenting, especially with sketchbooks. Try not to be tied to a fixed outcome, just let go and be free.

Celebrate their imperfections and the fact that they are making a creative mess. It’s such a valuable life lesson. I love how the act of art making can teach us many life lessons.

Let’s face it, none of us are perfect! (Eek, did I say that out loud!)

I love reading your comments. If you like this post please comment/ like below or even share with friends.

Yours in art,

Bec x

Work can be seen at Margan Restaurant at Margan Family Wines, Milbrodale Rd Broke, Hunter Valley,

What are values in painting?

In my last post I asked the question: What is a good painting? I didn’t speak about the technical points of painting and drawing-  composition, value, colour, mark making - as I personally feel the intent of the work is paramount.

Yet, like a baking a good cake, all these other components are really important too. There is the beautiful dance between, colour, composition, marks and value which help create a harmonious artwork.

My friend and fellow artist, Jon Hayes, and I have recently been discussing the importance of ‘values’ in a good painting. He feels (and rightly so) that if the values of a painting are not there then the painting will not be successful.

Values are an interesting subject and I don’t mean the cost of an artwork!

 A value is the light – darkness of the work.

Take away the colour/hue/chroma of the work and you are left with a grisaille or grey scale of the work.

Up until now what eluded me was not the idea of black-white but the importance of the balance.

At art school, a part from drawing and painting, I studied photography. 6 years in a black and white darkroom helped me understand 50 shades of grey! The success of an image hinged on the journey of either black or white in an image. You only have black and white to help with the composition. No colour to distract you.

Nature Sublime 2016, soft pastel on Fabriano paper, 56 x 76 cm
Galerie Belimage

Nature Sublime 2016, soft pastel on Fabriano paper, 56 x 76 cm
* TONAL version

Grey scale

Grey scale

When you turn a colour image into black and white, all you see are shapes and tonal values. If the tonal journey of either one is not there, then the image will not be successful.

This means, even if you have a high (light) key or low (dark) key painting, you must include a journey of the corresponding value to help the eye travel through the work.

It doesn’t mean you need a perfect balance of all greys but a journey of dark or light to help the eye stay inside and not travel outside the work. (This is also of the utmost importance when drawing with charcoal.)

Tonal values are important for composition because they not only help create depth (3D), they support the focal point as the eye is naturally drawn towards light tones.

There isn’t a day when I don’t learn something more about art making.

I hope this has helped many people out there who are still scratching their heads about values and their importance.

Thank you Jon and thank YOU for sharing this journey with me.

Please feel free to like and comment below.

Yours in art,

Bec x

“Various Storms and Saints: paintings and drawings from Hunter Valley, Australia and Tuscany, Italy” is currently on at Galerie Belimage, Switzerland.
Please view Australian works here.
Contact the gallery for more information: info@belimage.ch

Constructive Criticism.

It has been over a week since the opening and we are finally home after our big European adventure (sigh). As I think about the opening I can’t help but recall a very open gentleman who confidently told me he didn’t like my work.

Big Australian Skies. Installation photo of the current exhibition.
Images left to right. 1/ Towards Drayton's Vineyard, oil on cotton canvas, 86 x 116cm 2/On the table, various en plein air oil paintings from Italy. 3/ Gilleston Island (after the flood), oil on cotton, 86 x 115cm. 4/ Evening Light on Teddy's Hill, oil on cotton, 86 x 115cm.

Being an artist is an interesting occupation for a sensitive soul, which most artists are (not that I wish to generalise).  I’ve often been called sensitive, like it was a bad word, yet over the years I’ve grown a thick skin to negative comments.

I am still human however and negativity in any form is challenging but these days I try not to dwell on it. I believe, what we think about is who we become.

Both school and art school prepared me for criticism.  Every other day at university we would have group critiques (crits) about our work by peers and academics. Students would stand in front of their work, explain it, and then wait for a response by the group. More often than not it wasn't pleasant.

These days I feel if I get any reaction, I have achieved something. At least the viewer hasn’t simply walked past without looking or feeling.

This forthright gentleman proceeded to tell me that he didn’t like any ‘aggressive’ art both visual and music. He didn’t like my landscapes as he found them ‘disturbing’. He said “I do buy art but it is gentle and soft. I also play gentle classical music at home too”.

I stood there in interest as he spoke about his passion for art. I decided at that moment not to get offended but listened earnestly waiting for his reason.

And to his defence, he had a good one. This colourful, larger than life man, worked in a prison. He wanted a calm environment when he returned home from work.

For me, I like work which is enthusiastic and thought provoking. For example Turner’s tumultuous skies or Auerbach’s haunting portraits.

When I create work, I listen to passionate music (currently on my play-list is Florence & The Machine, Kasabian and The National). I move quickly and earnestly with my pastel or brush. There is a kind of alchemy taking place between me, my brush/pastel and subject. It is very physical working this way, often I am standing up moving around the canvas or paper. My work is therefore energetic; not aggressive but passionate. I am also painting an Australian landscape. It isn't soft and delicate but harsh and dangerous at times (especially when painting outside).

Installation photo
Images from left to right. 1/ Twilight along the Hunter River, soft pastel, 25x36cm. 2/ Break in the Storm, oil on poly, 86 x 116cm, 3/ Dusk along the Broken Back Mts, soft pastel, 25 x 36cm. 4/ Ideas of Wilderness, oil on poly, 93x117cm.

Installation photo
Images from left to right. 1/ Autumn Storm on Teddy's Hill, soft pastel, 56x76cm. 2/ The River Runs Long and Wide, oil on cotton canvas, 90x115cm.
 

So I thank him for his candour. It was constructive criticism.

I feel like I’ve achieved a goal with my work.

Please feel free to like and comment below.

Yours in art,

Bec x

“Various Storms and Saints; paintings and drawings from Hunter Valley, Australia and Tuscany, Italy” is currently showing at Galerie Belimage, Switzerland.
Please click here to see 'Hunter Valley' work online.
Contact the gallery for sales and further information.

Friends and Fondue.

Last night, at the opening of my exhibition at Galerie Belimage, I was given a big surprise. A friend, who I had met on the internet, decided to meet me at the opening.

We have been friends for about 2 (maybe 3) years and we met for the first time last night, Martin Stellar. I joined Martin’s arts newsletter about 2 years ago and have been in correspondence with him ever since.

Former monk, bespoke tailor, copywriter and now artist mentor, his newsletters are both amusing and informative. Martin calls Spain home but hails from Holland, he was holidaying in Zurich and decided (to my delight) to come to the opening of the exhibition. What a wonderful gift, which I’m extremely grateful for!

Martin and I last night at the opening of my exhibition.

Martin and I last night at the opening of my exhibition.

American art professor Nancy Hart who we visited in Venice. We met at San Cresci in 2014.

American art professor Nancy Hart who we visited in Venice. We met at San Cresci in 2014.

As our family adventure draws to a close, it has been one of the most rewarding events in my life albeit rather exhausting too. Travelling with 2 active boys, who just want to play soccer or Minecraft, rather than visit a Florentine museum or eat fondue on a remote Swiss hillside, can be a challenge.

There have been tears, tantrums and taxing moments (from me!) but what I remember most are the beautiful chance meetings with amazing people who inspire me and now I call friends.

I also appreciate the old friends who I have had the opportunity to share quality time with again.

I have grown as a person, artist, mother, wife and friend. In this post I want to thank all the special people who have shared this journey with us and made it so much richer.

The amazing Mimma, who is the current caretaker of San Cresci and manager of the artist residency, La Macina di San Cresci. Hugs to Duccio too!

The amazing Mimma, who is the current caretaker of San Cresci and manager of the artist residency, La Macina di San Cresci. Hugs to Duccio too!

Spritz o'clock again with artists Elena and Jessica Costa.

Spritz o'clock again with artists Elena and Jessica Costa.

Spritz o'clock with Monique Dufour and Mimma. Shout out to Elisabeth Swanson who left before I could get a photo.

Spritz o'clock with Monique Dufour and Mimma. Shout out to Elisabeth Swanson who left before I could get a photo.

My German 'mother' Elke, Andy, Baxter, 'cousin' Anne,  Oscar and me at the opening last night. Special shout out to Anna and Rito Wolfe who also came to the opening.

My German 'mother' Elke, Andy, Baxter, 'cousin' Anne,  Oscar and me at the opening last night. Special shout out to Anna and Rito Wolfe who also came to the opening.

 Galerie Belimage owner, Françoise Vetterli with moi. Thank you Dani for all your help!

 Galerie Belimage owner, Françoise Vetterli with moi. Thank you Dani for all your help!

I have said this before and I feel like saying it again, “I feel life isn't about the fastest car you have or the shiniest ring you just bought but about the people you love and the people who love you. It's about life experiences & appreciating the joy in your life.”

A big thank you, mille grazie, vielen dank and merci beaucoup to the amazing people I have been fortunate to meet and see again on this trip.

Yours in art and life,

Bec x

"Various Storms and Saints: drawings and paintings from Hunter Valley, Australia and Tuscany, Italy" is currently on show at Galerie Belimage. Please contact the gallery to purchase work. Images of work will be published on my website when I return to Australia this coming weekend.

Arrivederci San Cresci

My time at La Macina di San Cresci is coming to an end and as I reminisce on my special experience, I reflect upon my initial proposal which I sent in 2012.

Searching through my computer files I found my proposal. At the time I was painting landscapes and I wrote “I currently live in Pokolbin, Hunter Valley which is wine country of Australia.  My work responds to this environment and I would therefore enjoy working en plein air within the rural, wine country area of La Macina. To compare, contrast and explore the similarities of these two rural towns would be inspirational”.

It has been 4 years since the proposal and upon my first visit I was so overwhelmed and intimidated by the beauty of the landscape, I decided to go back to what I knew best and draw. This resulted in large gestural drawings of local produce. I was happy with what I had produced but I left with a feeling of disappointment that I hadn’t been brave enough to complete my initial project.

Soft pastel drawing in the garden at San Cresci

Small soft pastel drawings on the church floor

Oil on ply panel paintings

Two years later and equipped with my pochade box (en plein air box) of confidence, I embarked on my initial project of painting this majestic landscape. I’m still rather in awe of its beauty however after a month long residency, resulting in 30 paintings, 3 boxes, 20 drawings, sketches and 2 large soft pastel drawing, I am feeling more assured to paint this breathtaking scenery.

I don’t know if I will ever be completely relaxed, in the company of this historical backdrop, but I’m happy with the work I’ve produced. I look forward to bringing a piece of Tuscany home with me and using the colours, marks and textures I’ve discovered here in future landscapes.

It is always hard to say goodbye especially when you fall in love and that is certainly the case here. I love this experience more than I am able to express in writing and to say farewell to my second home (seconda casa) is not easy.

It will be another patient two years (fingers crossed) until I return to take on this landscape again.

A special thanks to my patient little family, Andy, Oscar and Baxter, for joining me on this wild adventure. I hope you had fun too!

Grazie mille e arrivederci Mimma, Duccio, Ugo. I will miss you and San Cresci very much.

Please feel free to like and comment below.

Yours in art,

Bec xx

"Various Storms and Saints: paintings and drawings from Hunter Valley, Australia and Tuscany, Italy" opens Saturday 9th July 2016 Galerie Belimage Switzerland. All work is for sale. Please contact the gallery if you are interested in buying work.

Being Brave.

I’ve recently been told by my fellow San Cresci residents, Elena and Monique, that I say “Don’t be precious” often. It’s funny how your idiosyncrasies are amplified when you are out of your comfort zone.

San Cresci this way

Gratefully my idiosyncrasies aren’t getting on my fellow artists nerves (well, they aren’t saying anyway!). Elena and Monique have encouraged me to write this post about my ideas of being precious.

Drawing in a storm.

My art has evolved into a fairly fast and intuitive process. I like to capture a moment in a drawing or painting. Fleeting and transient, I seek to document time though marks. As such my marks are rather strong, bold and directional. I don’t have time to be ‘precious’ about the details.

This process has evolved due to my other roles of family life. As described in previous posts, I’m often juggling family duties so my time at the easel is limited. I have embraced this and my art has developed accordingly.

It wasn’t always this way. I remember my drawing test for art school. We had to draw a cow skull in 40 minutes. My line, at this time, reflected my personality. Timid and shy, I was a real wallflower. I don’t know if my pencil even made a mark on the paper that day! I was scared to make a mistake as I really wanted to be accepted into art school.

I couldn't make up my mind so I painted both scenes!

Over time my confidence has grown and consequently so has my mark (my handwriting style). I have let go of many self limiting concerns. It has been difficult at times yet I (and my art) have really benefited as a result. It has been a wonderful journey; an analogy for life.

I actively work at not being precious. I enjoy getting my hands dirty, making that bold brush mark or pastel line. This view has continued through to home life. I now like to use the good china for cups of tea and wear my expensive blouse to the shops.

Life is too short to worry about the details. NOW is that special time to use the good china, wear your best shoes and make that bold line.

Let go. Be brave. You are worth it.

Yours in art,

Bec x

Finding Home

Over 35 hours of travelling and I’ve finally made it back ‘home’. Although exhausted from the tyranny of distance, the moment I laid eyes on the rolling green hills of Greve in Chianti, I was re-charged and full of excitement.

Ugo

Ugo

It sounds corny but this morning I couldn’t help but cry with the pure relief of being here again. I’ll blame the jet lag and sleep deprivation, but to see that nothing had changed at San Cresci was pure joy. Mimma and Duccio are just as welcoming as when we visited in 2014. Their dog Ugo has grown and perhaps there are a few more pigeons in the roof to coo me to sleep at night but nevertheless it is still the same as I remember.

Have you ever visited a place and felt that you had ‘come home’? That life just slotted into place and you felt a calmness and sense of belonging? That is what San Cresci has become for me.

Artists are interesting creatures. We can be obsessive, dedicated, spirited and single minded in our pursuit for that perfect realisation of our art. We tend to be outsiders and are often that square peg in the round hole, so when you find an oasis like San Cresci you hold on tight -- for it’s that sense of belonging which welcomes you.

I’m currently sharing San Cresci with three visual artists from America and Canada. Like-minded, spirited and fun, it is a pleasure to create work among them.

San Cresci is situated top right of the picture.

My family arrive next week which will change the energy at San Cresci. This is what makes the residency even more special. Different people come and go during your stay, which enriches the wonderful experience which is La Macina di San Cresci artist residency.

Ciao from Italia

Yours in art,

Bec

San Cresci here I come!

My bags are packed and I’m counting down the hours until I’m at my artistic and spiritual home, La Macina Di San Cresci (San Cresci) artist residency in Tuscany, Italy.

My family and I had the privilege to stay at San Cresci 2 years ago. I wrote about it in my first ever blog (#artistresidency ). I really don’t know where to begin to explain the artistic oasis which is San Cresci….. maybe I should start with some history?

View from my window towards Greve in Chianti

San Cresci is a large complex which now features a (nonoperational) parish church, owner’s residence, two artist apartments, a large communal basement studio, exhibition space, and a walled garden with panoramic views down to the town of Greve in Chianti and the medieval walled town of Montefioralle.     

Earliest known records of the parish church, San Cresci, date back to 948. The oldest church in the region, San Cresci has been lovingly restored by the new caretakers, Florentine architect Demetria (Mimma) Verduci and world renowned light sculptor Professor Duccio Trassinelli.

Mimma and Duccio opened the residency, about 17 years ago, to welcome international artists across all disciplines. When we stayed we shared the facilities with 3 other artists including a choreographer, visual artist and another graphic designer/visual artist all from USA.

Nestled among the Tuscan olive groves and vineyards, the modest sandstone church contains only a few original Romanesque architectural features including the entrance arches.

The walls of the parish church are adorned with exquisite frescoes dating back to 1800s. Behind the marble altar, a 1615 canvas painting by Francesco Boldrini, depicting the Madonna of Rosario, can be found together with a 16C wooden crucifix with Jesus. A worn groove can be seen on the red and white floor tiles, where countless parishioners have trodden over time.

Entrance to the exhibition room/studio (left) church (centre) , artist accommodation (right)

Inside the church

Named after the Holy Martyr Acrisio, commonly known as Cresci, the pieve (parish) was known to pilgrims, passing through Greve on their way to Rome, as a place to stay and leave their valuable passions behind for safe keeping until their return. Mimma jokes about finding a big cache of goodies during the restoration (1994-1997) alas nothing was found.

What was discovered, during restoration, was a ‘longobard’ stone. This could date back to 500-700 AD when the Germanic people, Lombards ( Longobards ) ruled large parts of the Italy.

More modern history features the French contemporary thinker, Guy Debord and Gianfranco Sanguinetti who lived in the villa during the 70s.

Needless to say the history of San Cresci is long and rich. I look forward to immersing myself in its history and spending many warm Tuscan nights in Mimma’s garden discussing Guy Debord, Roman architecture and everything Italian.

Yours in art,

Bec x

Economy of scale...Reach out & Get in touch with an artist.

This week I was sharply confronted with the injustice of the economy of scale in the western world.

My son is a very sporty boy. One afternoon, after he played soccer, he asked for a sports drink. Stopping in at the petrol station he ran in to buy a drink. I gave him $5 and expected change. I received 10c. 10c!! $5 for a 375ml sports drink!

Currently our dairy farmers are struggling with price cuts and they can’t even get 37c per litre *. The dedication these farmers put into their work is staggering. Early mornings, in all weather, no holidays or weekends, caring for animals and they can’t even get paid a decent amount for their labour! I know this personally as our friends are dairy farmers.

In contrast, a global corporation, which is worth millions, can put $5 (retail) *on a synthetic mass produced beverage.

What is going on with the world?

Where is the economy of scale?

Lotus, monotype and pastel drawing, 56 x76 cm . From my 'In Season' series.

Lotus, monotype and pastel drawing, 56 x76 cm . From my 'In Season' series.

 Bland artwork from a bargain store

 Bland artwork from a bargain store

I bring this back to artists and handcrafted artwork. I speak for many artists when I say that we spend hours on our craft. We learn and practise our craft nearly every day. Like the dairy farmer, it is through long hours of dedication we produce our work. We are not mass produced. We are not global corporations. We are people with a passion, to create work for YOU.

These days’ people can go to a bargain store and buy a mass produced artwork. They have no real connection with the artwork, it simply is the correct colours for their wall and matches their furniture.

I ask the question, next time you want a piece, why don’t you make a connection with a local artist? You can find us on all social media these days.

Reach out. We don’t bite. We are sometimes shy but really appreciate a kind word about our work. It gives us motivation to keep on going.

Moreover, we appreciate your support, especially when you make a connection and buy our work. When you buy the work it is a beautiful reminder of your experience with the artisan. It evokes memories which are lasting. It is a purchase which keeps on giving, for both the artist and patron (buyer).

The local bargain shop doesn’t need your support regarding art. They have other products to sell which are mass produced.

Please support local artists. Buy branded milk. We may be a little more expensive but it is worth supporting local businesses.

Yours in art,

Bec xx

* Currently it is $1 litre retail for supermarket branded milk. I don’t know the cost price for sport drinks.    

The first Instagram exhibition!? May I blow my own trumpet?

There is a saying in Australia, to blow one’s own trumpet. It means to say self-gratifying statements to raise one’s ego or status. It is looked down upon and seen as egotistical. Therefore if this offends please tune out now or if you are happy to placate me, then please keep reading.

August 2014 I curated an exhibition called “#Fridaysketchclub”. It was held at the Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre, Australia. The premise was an international drawing exhibition showcasing the work of artists who all meet through the social media platform, INSTAGRAM. At the time I did not assume that we were the first group to organize such a show therefore didn’t publicize accordingly. How egotistical would that have been!? Little ‘ol me in country Australia organizing the first ever Instagram exhibition. It is now coming to light that perhaps we were “one of the first”. A gallery in America did a similar show in 2012. Now a gallery in London, The Unit Gallery, is claiming to be ‘the first ‘Instagram exhibition.

A little background information about our show.  In March 2014 a fellow Instagram artist friend, Jon Hayes (@j.hayesart) and I had the idea of creating a hashtag for artist friends- #fridaysketchclub. The idea was to create a drawing or sketch on a Friday. Hashtag the work, post it on Instagram, then over the weekend look at the hashtag and comment on the work of a fellow artist. Non-competitive, a safe and happy environment for like-minded people to connect through their love of art. During this process I had the idea of an exhibition. I organized a meeting with Brad Franks, the manager at Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre. After pitching my idea, he graciously offered me an exhibition slot in August 2014. It was a boon as my fellow artist friends were creating beautiful work and this was a wonderful time for a show.

Inviting my friends to take part, 11 committed to the idea and the exhibition coordination was in full swing.  Although I was excited, I was just about to embark on a month long artist residency in Italy so the timing was challenging. Arriving in Italy I found that I could not use my email and laptop so I had to coordinate the entire exhibition via Instagram. My artist friends were amazing and very encouraging. Each artist, who I have never met, trusted me and I was very appreciative of the support.

The artists included: Jon Hayes (USA), Paul Mordetsky (USA), Jakob Pinto (USA), Joy Thomas (USA), Curtis Jensen (USA),  Brian Martin (USA), Caragh Savage (UK), Jerome Royer (France), Anne Kristensen (Norway), Terge Thomassen (Norway), Reza Doust (Canada) and myself. Each artist sent 2 works. I framed all the works and with the help of the gallery we hung the show.

#fridaysketchclub exhibition Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre August 2014

#fridaysketchclub exhibition Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre August 2014

Fast track to a few months ago and my group of passionate Friday Sketch Clubbers contacted The Unit Gallery and the curator to explain that they were not the first Instagram exhibition. A small social media confrontation ensued and we all finally came to an agreement that neither was the first. Naturally I thought they would do the gentlemanly thing and change their PR but no. Now they have blocked all my friends from their Instagram account. Why block us? What are they trying to hide?

I know we are a smaller group of artists who don’t have the support of a so-called high profile London gallery but we do have a voice and we do count. Recognition should be given when it’s due and this is such a case.

You have kept reading this blog so you must feel the need to support our cause and blow our trumpets. Please help give our group the recognition we deserve. Your voice counts!

Please comment/like below.

Bec x

Meeting the inspriational artist Judy Cassab.

The Australian art world lost a beautiful soul this week, Judy Cassab. Gifted, gracious, passionate and inspirational, a lady who I had the privilege to meet and consequently correspond with years later.

About 12 years ago I was working in an art gallery in Mosman, Sydney. My boss at the time asked if I would like to accompany her to the opening of the famous Archibald prize at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Naturally I jumped at the chance and accepted eagerly. The Archibald Prize at AGNSW is a celebrated portrait prize and a hot ticket on the Sydney art social calendar.

The opening was packed and I was in awe of the celebrities and acclaimed artists who mingled in the crowd. I noticed a familiar face who I had only read about in books, Judy Cassab. Telling my boss, she immediately introduced herself to Judy and I followed suit. Fumbling for words, I explained that I adored her work and would love to have a piece one day. To the shock of my boss and myself, Judy graciously invited me to visit her home to look at her work. I was speechless but managed to say a big YES and thank you!

Post the opening, I wrote to Judy and asked if I could visit. She replied and we arranged a time for the following week. Her home was inspirational. Walls were covered with art and artifacts from some of Australia's most celebrated artists. She showed me a beautiful drawing of her Grandmother which she had drawn when she 12. It had the hand of a master. Exquisite marks and confident lines. I was also surprised when I saw her studio had white carpet! The sign of a confident artist who knows she won't make a mess.  I did buy two works that day. One for my mother and one for myself.

Later Judy and I exchanged letters. She encouraged me to find my 'handwriting style"; one which was my signature mark. I connected with her passion, dogged determination and what she explained as "I'll show you" attitude. Meeting Judy gave me the courage to pursue my passion of drawing. Perhaps if we hadn't met, life may be a little different today. A real 'sliding door' moment.

Love and blessings to this beautiful lady who overcame extreme hardship to pursue her passion. May her legacy live on.

I'll be lighting a candle for her in the studio today.

Vale Judy Cassab. Thank you for believing.

Bec x

Judy's letters

Letters from Judy and her two books.