Painting the world
A versatile artist, Wendy Beugels went through an incredible artistic transformation as she settled into Algarvian life.
From realistic and expressionistic artworks, using oil and acrylic paint, to colourful and happy watercolours inspired by her surroundings.
Originally from the Netherlands, since childhood Wendy had a passion for drawing and painting. “Art was my favourite class in school,” she says. “I’ve been paid to do commissions since I was 11 years old and I’m still as nervous now as I was then!” She received her bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from the Maastricht University, Netherlands, and soon moved to the USA where her career began.
She worked with oil and acrylic paints and made realistic portraits and expressionistic sports art for private and corporate clients. Wendy was based in a military camp, so the community was small and well connected and the word spread as she was inundated with requests.
After her stint in the US, Wendy returned to the Netherlands, where she used her versatility and turned her hand to graphic design for a Dutch newspaper. She created layouts for the lifestyle editions and created marketing tools and digital illustrations.
After this, her journey as an independent artist and graphic designer really developed. She combined the techniques that she had learned from traditional painting with digital skills and developed a new way to make her art with pen and tablet and started to make digital hand-painted portraits.
Four years ago, she embarked on her journey to Portugal. “I got rid of my house and all my belongings, even my car, and came to Portugal with only a few things.” She quickly settled into the relaxed way of life and soon became inspired by everything Portugal has to offer. “I feel that I have everything I need now. My life feels a lot lighter and free and, therefore, my work is becoming more flowy and simplistic.”
This is also when she started to develop “happier colours”, as she explains. “The sky is so blue, and the colours are so different and vibrant in the sunlight. I am from the Netherlands, where everything is grey, so it makes a massive difference to my outlook on life and my art.”
The colourful buildings, daily life, street scenes, boats, beach scenes and landscapes are all featured in her recent successful series of Happy Watercolours. “In this new phase of my career and life, the purpose and essence of my paintings is to bring happiness, to give a happy vibe and positive feeling.”
Soon, Wendy will be opening a studio and setting up a base in Armação de Pêra, where people can view and purchase her paintings. Her client base are mostly expats who live in the Algarve, so the location is perfect as it is right in the centre. But although her studio will be based in the centre of the Algarve, she can’t seem to take her focus off Lagos. “I just fell in love,” she explains. “I was taken back by the atmosphere and variety of things to paint there.” Initially, she was asked to paint the famed ‘green building’ in Praça Luís de Camões. However, her eye is drawn to many other areas such as the marina, the shopping streets and old town.
Her paintings range from €50 to around €2,000 depending on the complexity of the creation. She currently runs two social media pages dedicated to her work, one for her portraits and digital portraits and one for her watercolours. Wendy started off her career mostly taking commissions, but she is keen to start painting what she wants and going on to make multiple copies of each piece. She can also take requests through her websites, where her pieces can also be purchased.
As Wendy spends more time in the Algarve, she is growing increasingly fond of the place. “I think my style will change again,” she says. In the future, she would like to combine her new colourful and ‘flowy’ style with her old techniques such as using oil and acrylic as well as moving to larger scale paintings. Currently, Wendy’s paintings are more in demand than ever because they are accurate and beautiful interpretations of the many reasons why so many choose to holiday or live in the Algarve.
By Alex Brennan