We had such a lovely morning in the home studio of Bekah McWhorter, the artist behind Paintings By Beks. Bekah’s art truly captures the magic of the world around us and brings these creations to our every day lives through her prints and we enjoyed getting to learn more about her, her art, & how she got here.
How did you get your start and what drew you to become an artist?
I’ve loved art for as long as I can remember. Even as a kid I would love to draw, color, and paint. I’ve taken a lot of art classes in my life and got to explore all different mediums, but I never considered it a career path. Fast forward through college and grad school to when I was working as a social worker. Back then, the only time I would paint was around Christmas when I create something as a gift for a family member or friend. One year, I ended up painted a portrait of my friend’s dog just for fun. She was the first that mentioned I should be selling my art. I honestly had never thought about that. I decided to give it a go, and the first thing I did was start my Instagram account. It was solely for dog portraits because I knew so many people who were obsessed with their dog (mainly me and my family). Low and behold, commissions started to roll in.
I always think about what my friend said to me, encouraging me to start this business. I think that is so important, and a great reminder to encourage the people in your life when you see something that they’re good at. I don’t even know if I would be doing this if it wasn’t for encouragement from my friends.
How old were you when you decided to pursue the art path?
That was not even three years ago, so I was…31. So many things happened during this time – it was totally a God thing. A lot of things were changing in my life which kept pushing me more and more towards doing art full time. The place I was working ended up shutting down, and then with Covid and other things, it just naturally turned into a full-time job. It had been almost 1 year since I had launched my Instagram.
You started with dog portraits, and now you’re a Collective Retailer with a full line of items you design. At what point did you decide that you were going to do more than just pet portraits and start painting more for yourself?
Yes, I started off painting dogs, and then I started painting people’s houses, and other things like that. I had the thought that some people would like to have their dog on stationary or other opportunities to expand the portraits. I don’t have that skill set; I’m not a graphic designer, so I was curious on how to go about that. Around that time, a friend introduced me to Brittany Jackson of Noteworthy Printing. We had coffee one day and she mentioned that she had been looking for a watercolor artist to partner with. Partnering on weddings began almost immediately.
What did that look like?
The first couple requested a portrait of their dogs on a wedding crest. Brittany was already doing their wedding invitations, so that made it a pretty seamless process. We also talked about a custom painting specifically for the wedding that Brittany could digitize and turn into practically anything they needed for the festivities. They ended up having custom cups, napkins, and stir sticks made. My artwork was even turned into a dance floor at the wedding. That was really exciting! I love doing the wedding stuff, and look forward to doing more of that in the future.
If someone was interested in that from you, how can they get in touch?
You can reach out to either Brittany or me on Instagram through Brit x Beks! You can also inquire about custom art directly through me on my personal Instagram, Paintings by Beks.
I think Amarillo is a really unique place because we deeply value our local arts, and a lot of people are always looking to engage more with the arts here. Can you tell us what it’s been like being a female artist in the Panhandle over the last couple of years?
It’s been wonderful. I consider Amarillo home now. I’m not from here, but I’ve lived here for around six years. Overall, I feel very encouraged by the community here, and I feel like everyone goes out of their way to support local businesses as much as they can. A huge part of that has been me being a part of From 6th Collective. It has meant so much to do pop ups and meet other female business owners. I still can’t believe that I’m a business owner! But it’s really exciting being a part of it all.
Elaborating more on being out at The Collective… You have prints of your watercolors for sale, but some of the products bring your artwork to life. Can you explain more about those items?
Those items are an expansion of the wedding collaborations between Brittany Jackson and myself. We had been unofficially partnering/collaborating together for about a year on different projects, so we decided to make it official. Our everyday line includes everything from party cups, + napkins to cocktail stirrers + koozies. And honestly, there will probably be a million more things in the future!
The goldfish is my personal favorite piece that you’ve done. It was actually the first artwork I ever bought from you! Is there a painting you’ve created that you’re really proud of or one that holds the most sentiment to you?
That’s a really good question. It might be the goldfish too, honestly! The inspiration for the goldfish came from Ted Lasso. Ya know the saying right? “You know what the happiest animal in the world is?It’s a goldfish.It’s got a 10 second memory.Be a goldfish.” I’m inspired by simple things that we see everyday whether that’s in nature or just random objects. A lot of my inspiration also comes from my kids and the way that they see the world. Everything is so exciting to them, and I love painting those things to remind me of things that we’ve done together. It allows me to capture this time in our lives in such a unique way. The goldfish though, it’s one of the entire family’s favorites – it’s even hanging in my kids bathroom right now.
Thank you so much for inviting us into your lovely home and chatting with us. For our customers who want to know a little more about you personally, let’s do some rapid fire questions before we wrap things up!
Outside of art, what is your favorite hobby?
I love to play tennis! I am very intense. That kind of catches people off-guard sometimes. I’ve been playing since I was 4 or 5. I love sports. I also love to travel and spend time with my kids.
What would the perfect day look like to you?
I would probably grab a coffee from Palace, and go on a walk with some friends, go to the park with my kids, order in Sushi House and watch a movie.
If you had only one choice to get something out at From 6th Collective, what would it be?
Rugs. I want all of the rugs that aren’t for sale, so probably one of those!