To me, nothing is more humbling and at the same time more invigorating than approaching a blank canvas. Working as an artist endlessly challenges me to grow and learn, always with the hope my work might capture a fragment of the sacred I recognize in the natural world.
Beck grew up in Northern California in a bucolic, rural setting where Loggerhead Shrike and Western Meadowlarks kept me company on the walk home from the bus stop. Red-Tails, Kestrels and Kites, Hummingbirds and Burrowing Owls were regular residents of the landscape of her childhood.
After college, she became fascinated with learning to draw and paint and took on the challenge of depicting the birds and animals I knew. She studied intensive anatomy, drawing and illustration at the California College of Arts and Crafts for two years preparing her to work as a nature illustrator.
Today, Beck spend hours each week outdoors observing birds and wildlife, taking photos, making sketches, and recording color information for reference in the studio. Concepts for paintings emerge from these personal experiences in nature.
As a painter, I enjoy the challenge of translating textures, patterns and palettes into paint. When painting birds or mammals, I apply the rules of portraiture, seeking to convey the birds essence through careful observation of its unique physical attributes and mannerisms and the way it behaves in its environment.
The addition of gold and silver leaf backgrounds and elements to my paintings elevates the stature of my subject, introduces reflective light to the surface of the painting and provides an interesting contrast to the natural pigments.
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI – Bachelor of Arts in English Literature 1980
California College of the Arts, Oakland, CA – 1982-1984 – Drawing, Illustration
Palette & Chisel Academy of Fine Art, Chicago, Illinois – Painting, Life Drawing
Workshops: Rose Frantzen, Nancy Guzik, Clayton Beck and Johanna Harmon
THE NATURE COMPANY, Berkeley, CA 1984-1989
Created artwork reproduced as posters, greeting cards, T-shirts, and even umbrellas for sale nationally in stores and through a mail-order catalog. Subject matter included North America Garden Birds, Hummingbirds, Insects, Raccoons, Owls and Large Cats. Bird-Feeder and Hummingbird posters set records as companys best-selling poster images.
FREELANCE ILLUSTRATOR 1989-1992
Created original full-color watercolor and pencil illustrations for greeting cards, paper products: MARCEL SCHURMAN COMPANY., THE EVERGREEN PRESS, THE NOTE CUBE CO.
National and International Exhibitions
Birds in Art 2012-2016, 2018-2020, 2022, 2023
Society of Animal Artists Member Exhibition 2020, 2022 (selected to national tour), 2D Merit Award, 2023
American Women Artists, Spring Online Juried Exhibition, 2020-22
Animals, Birds and Wildlife Competition Finalist, 2014-2017, 2019, 2021
Awarded an Honorable Mention in 2016
International Figure and Portrait Competition Finalist, 2017
Still Life and Floral Competition Finalist, 2019
The Art of the Heartland 2015, 2016, 2018
Southwest Art Magazine
Award of Excellence in 2015,
Award of Merit in the Animal Category, 2018
The Laumeister Fine Art Competition 2015
Bennington Center for the Arts
Oil Painters of America Western Regional Exhibition, 2021
Awarded the Animal Award of Excellence
Oil Painters of America National Exhibition 2015
Oil Painters of America Eastern Regional Exhibition 2014, 2015
Oil Painters of America Salon Shows 2013, 2016
National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society (NOAPS) Online International Show, 2013
American Impressionist Society Small Works Showcase, 2018
American Women Artists, Associate Member with Distinction
Artists for Conservation, Signature Member
Society of Animal Artists, Signature Member
Oil Painters of America, 2012-2022
Portrait Society of America, 2011-2019
Palette & Chisel Academy of Fine Art, 2009-2019
Sage Creek Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
J Petter Galleries, Douglas, MI
Sunset Framer & Art Gallery, St. George, UT