Monthly Archives: November 2011

A Comment From Australia On My Iris Video

I just love getting these comments.  It doesn’t happen too often but 2 in 1 day is amazing.  This one from Australia is based on watching my Iris video clip. Hearing from people like this  does make the world seem a smaller place.  Smaller and friendlier.

“Thanks so much, it was a joy to watch. Have already learnt a few things from you, and you inspired me to get going again.
Keep up the good work.

An Inspiring Email

I just received this email yesterday.  I found it inspiring.  It’s so neat to have people from various places around the world find my art work and be moved by it enough to write me.  It creates a real sense of connection.  I was touched, in particular by this one.

Hello, Rex:

First of all, I do very much like your paintings … Actually, I more than like. They are superb!

Secondly, I too, am a Bean though that’s my married name. My husband is a direct descendant of John MacBean as you probably well know all about the MacBean origin, etc. my husband’s proud Scottish ancestor, John MacBean at war w/England, sent to New England, Massachusetts and there his name was shortened to Bean. Long story short: Massachusetts to New Hampshire and then to Maine well, my husband’s line though there are other Bean lines throughout New England.

Hmmm, perhaps I’m not telling you anything any more interesting than digesting Haggis but then, to some folks, haggis is a delicious repast.

No matter. I just wanted to tell you that I love your art … I hope that you’ll excuse my boldness – I’m nearing 80 years old, Irish/French/Algonquin. Quebec/Ireland parentage, born in Maine, USA …

Note: I oil paint; Never attended classes ergo don’t know what I’m doing but love it and learn from seeing, reading and experiencing.

I wish you safety and health and greater notice of your art than you have already acquired … You are, in fact, an artist!

Sincerely, AliceMary Bean   …

Dynamic Figures

This was the last class in my Dynamic Figure Drawing Class.   This new class was a real leap of faith for me.  It took me a few months of preparation to get ready for it and at times it was like flying by the seat of my pants but above everything it was a big growth experience to step so far out of my comfort zone.  These two images were from this last class.  Each in it’s own way sums up the class.  The super hero character has perspective and foreshortening aspects and the image of Rachel Welch is all about the pose.

After this class I’m looking forward to a change of pace but after that I’m very interested in revisiting this class and building on what I’ve learned this time.

A Loud Bouquet

This image is strictly the result of playing with acrylic.  It actually was an old nondescript painting from a few years ago.  It was done on masonite.  I decided to reuse the board and just began applying paint with a palette knife and using lots of objects to scape and scratch the surface to create texture.  Over a few days it evolved into an image of flowers so I went with that and tried to tease out some definitionof the subject.  It was a lot of fun totally aside from the quality of the image.  Again in a process like this I just keep looking at the image and seeing what it needs and adding and subtracting paint.  That’s one of the wonderful characteristics of acrylic.  It’s so easy to add stuff or totally change direction.  We’ll see where this image eventually goes to but I do know it was a lot of fun to take it this  far and the original image that is now totally obscured was no great loss.

Now You See It

I’ve started doing a lot of  little experimental watercolour pieces.  They usually start by pouring, spraying, throwing or splattering  paint on to the paper and then by using various spray or squirt bottles I encourage the paint to flow in various ways.  After this is finished I just leave it for a few days and start to see what direction the image seems to be going.  When I see something I slowly start building up that subject.  Sometimes I get exciting brand new compositions, sometimes I get to recycle the paper but when it works it’s almost always fresh and exciting.

This particular image is an example.  I’m not sure if it’s finished or not but when I look at it especially from a distance I see a very neat subject of a person.  As I say I’m not sure if it’s finished but it’s  interesting even at this stage.


This little image was done primarily using casein.  There is a little watercolour still showing in the back row of trees. Casein is a medium that I really like but don’t use very often.  I’ve mostly used it to get finer detail in acrylic paintings.  It goes well with acrylic. It’s much easier to get fine lines with casein than it is with acrylic.  It has a matt finish which is very beautiful.  I find it to be a very rich surface as in the background of this picture.  It’s just a solid wash of grey but I feel it has a life to it.  Casein  uses a milk protein as it’s medium which gives it a very sweet smell.

Railway Station, Banff

The process for this painting has been extremely valuable.  The smaller image is the original plein air sketch.  I liked it so much that I did a larger studio version.  It was a fairly accurate copy of the original image but it just didn’t really work.  It was OK but lifeless.  When I thought about it it occurred to me that the area that interested me in the original sketch was that small central area where there is the strongest contrast and most vivid colour.  So I had to ask myself I was painting trees and mountains etc when what I wanted was to focus on the drama of that one small area.  In any case, I redrew the composition as seen in the version above and painting this image was a real blast.  As I have heard from many artists,  ‘Make the painting about what it’s about.’   Was that ever good advice in this instance.

Experimental Watercolour

This more experimental approach to watercolour is just so much fun.  It’s really exciting, especially when it works.  I began by soaking the paper and just pouring in various rich greys and green greys.  I used my spray bottle, a little mister and various little squirt bottles to try to direct the paint around a bit.  I also lifted out some shapes.  When this was all dry I used a more direct approach to do the trees and get a few good darks in there.  I find it so spontaneous and organic and that’s all because the water was allowed to do what it does best.  There really is no other medium like it.

Figure In Light

This image is a direct collision between the figure drawing I’ve been doing lately and the more experimental watercolour technique that I’m interested in using.  I did 85% of it about 3 months ago.  I’ve had it up in the studio for that time and it’s just today that  I went back in and added the shadows.  These shadows are only a small element in the entire image but they are very powerful elements as they start to define the subject.   Now I feel that this image is starting to tell a bit of a story .

I also love the  whites.

Dynamic Figure Creation

In order to bring my Dynamic Figure Drawing Class to a conclusion I felt that creating an original character would best incorporate everything that we’ve been doing.  To fully understand this assignment I tried my own version.  It’s been a fascinating process to see how this character has evolved from the original generic pose to one that starts to suggest a story.  This activity has given me a whole new appreciation of the efforts of comic artists who have to visualize a story arch that covers multiple panels each incorporating one or more characters.

These images represent about 1 and a half  hours of drawing/painting over a 4 days.