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Artist of the Month - February 2019

Written By Jim T. Gammill
Arts Council Menifee

Loretta Beckwith, February Artist of the Month, painted “Silver Green.”

Some of Beckwith’s earliest memories have to do with the world of art. She was born in 1938 in Colorado Springs, Colorado and her father was a professional artist. His skills were wide-ranging and he worked with a variety of mediums. He made much of his income as a graphic artist for theaters in the area.

At the time, movie studios did not print posters or advertising for mass release and most theaters had to rely on skilled artists to paint “show card” advertisements for their featured films. Beckwith would often have the opportunity to watch her father at work and he would take every opportunity to pass on his artistic knowledge to his daughter, who was always receptive and eager to learn.

“My father would always say, draw what you see,” Beckwith reflected. “My father knew so much about mixing colors, contrast, and perspective drawing and he taught me everything.”

Beckwith continued to live in Colorado Springs until she was 18 years old. She has many fond memories of staying inside during inclement weather and drawing pictures of movie stars with her boyfriend (now husband) from down the street. Beckwith continued to grow as an artist and was able to display her skills in her high school art class.

“My teacher was a great artist,” she remembered, “and he even said to me on my graduation day that out of all the people he had ever taught, that he expected that I had the most potential to go places with my art.”

Beckwith later moved to California with her husband to raise a family, and her art career was put on hold as a result.

In the 1990’s, Loretta picked it all back up and has not looked back since. She started painting on canvas in 1992 when she found a copy of a book by a local artist that had different drawings and lessons. She still has her first piece from these sessions, a painting of a eucalyptus tree, displayed in her studio.

It wasn’t long before the artist started to move on to other mediums and surfaces. Beckwith has painted wall murals locally (in Menifee, Hemet, and Temecula) and out of the area (Palmdale and Lancaster). The artist loves experimenting with new materials and uses everything from traditional oils to modern image manipulation software.

“Just do it, is what I always say,” Beckwith stated. “You may start out with an idea of what you want from a piece, but sometimes it ends up completely different. You just have to be ready to move when the mood hits.”

Beckwith has been a member of the Arts Council Menifee for nearly a decade and has actively participated in the visual arts department ever since. Her work has been featured in numerous Arts Council Menifee events and even adorned the promotional flyer for ACM’s fall event.

Arts Council Trustee Kathy Puckett had the following to say about Beckwith:

“Loretta has been a big help for me with the shows at the US Bank. She prints up all the artists that show for the year. She has always helped with setting up the day of our show and reception. She is the most friendly person I know and always wants to lend a hand. She loves to experiment with new techniques in her work. Her flower paintings are beautiful.”

Her art has helped to enrich Menifee’s artistic community for years and shows no sign of slowing down. It is for these reasons and her constant dedication to her craft that Arts Council Menifee named Loretta Beckwith as February’s Artist of the Month.

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