Travelling the world and throughout Australia, Matthew Begg paints everyday scenes that other people might overlook. His work has a strong sense of place, capturing details and light unique to that area. FOCUS went to his studio and gallery in Coramba to find out more.
What is your connection to the Coffs Coast?
I moved to Coramba five years ago with my family, after coming to Coffs Harbour for a holiday and discovering the Orara Valley.
Have you always been an artist? What has the journey been like so far?
I have drawn for as long as I remember and started painting when I was 18, living in Mudgee, NSW. Since then, I have travelled to India, Cambodia and throughout Australia drawing and painting streetscapes and landscapes that caught my eye. I am currently collecting images of Coffs Harbour and surrounding areas for paintings.
What are your preferred mediums and why?
I draw line drawings with sketching pens, some with a lot of detail and some just simple lines. Line drawings are quick and make you think about what the image is made up of; whereas, my paintings are more detailed and there is a longer process in producing them. For these I use acrylic on a soft canvas, because it can be watered down or used dry, almost like shading with a pencil; it is also quick drying, making it easier to apply multiple layers.
Can you describe your paintings?
My paintings are from photographs of streetscapes and landscapes taken while travelling. They are scenes you would normally not pay much attention to, like shops, houses and roadsides.
What inspires your photorealistic approach?
I enjoy painting things I see every day and finding beauty in ordinary buildings and landscapes. I look for the way light and shadows change the way the view looks at different times of the day and the way the light spreads out in a streetscape at night.
I enjoy the process of producing an artwork. I stumble across most images I paint by taking photos everywhere I go, from snapping out of a car window to walking down lanes in a country town.
People ask me to paint from photos of portraits – old homes and farms that have mostly been sold.
Where are some of your favourite places around the world to paint?
I like travelling to places that have a landscape or architecture that is unique to that area. I have painted Darjeeling in India and temples and streetscapes in Cambodia and a group of paintings of streetscapes in the Central West NSW. I enjoyed painting things that were familiar, everyday scenes from that area, and the reaction from people seeing these ordinary country town streetscapes as a work of art in a gallery.
You run Artspace on 45 in Coramba with your wife, Megan. Can you tell us more about this?
Our studio is open by appointment, and we have an open day once a month. Megan paints as well, and these artworks and works from our children Temily, Elie and Oriel are also displayed on our walls. On our open days we have guest artists with paintings, sculpture and pottery. Coramba is a great place to visit, as it is only 15 km west of Coffs, and the town has good coffee, gifts and beautiful scenery.
Do you have any projects or exhibitions planned? How can people stay updated?
We are planning free creative workshops and other activities in the next few months and open days on August 12 and 13.
You can find out about our projects on Facebook or Instagram and subscribe to our mailing list on www.artspaceon45.com.au