Monthly Archives: May 2012

Ethics, Originality and Art Shows

This is something I had occasion to think about last week in getting ready for the Leighton Centre Clothesline sale.  The first image below is one I use in my introductory watercolour class.  I really like it and feel that it has a lot of appeal.  Doorways are very popular with people  because, I think,  they invite the viewer into the story of the painting.

For these reasons I wanted to include this image in the sale.  The original reference was from an old ‘how to paint’ book (Walter Foster circa 1950 – $1.25).   I wondered if the fact  that the images from the book were not copyright and were for people to paint was enough to allow me to include it in the show.  I didn’t really think so, so I did another version in which I made some more changes to it (the bottom image).  I was putting more of my personal stamp on it and I then wondered if I could enter it in the show.

After debating this for a bit I came to the conclusion that I just couldn’t use any version of  a reference that wasn’t mine, even if I changed it.  As a teaching/learning tool it’s fine, copying the masters has a long and valued history in art but it can’t be passed off as original which is the criteria for all art shows.  I’m not exactly sure where the line is between ‘being influenced by and copying’ but this is way to close for me.

My guiding principle is that I don’t want any painting I do to ever be questioned in terms of originality.  Which is why I only work from my own photos or sketches or my imagination.

As artists move along in their journey and start to exhibit and sell their art this issue  takes on more importance.

Rex Beanland, Doorway, watercolour, 9 X 12







Rex Beanland, Doorway 2, watercolour, 9 X 12

Memories Of Oregon

This is the demo I did last night.  I added some finishing touches after the class.  I’ve done this image a number of times so I’m always trying to incorporate some fresh ideas.  I feel quite good about this image.  A little splatter always helps.

Rex Beanland, Memories Of Oregon, watercolour, 20 X 8


Memories Of Oregon
20 X 8

Leighton Centre Clothesline Sale

This is the time for the Clothesline Sale at the Leighton Centre.  This year they have increased it to 3 days June 1 – 3.  For anyone who hasn’t visited the Leighton Centre it’s well worth the trip.  It’s a beautiful location in the foothills about 15 km south of Calgary. On the Saturday and Sunday they have outdoor tents and display the unframed work of about 70 artists.  It’s a good chance to see reasonably priced work and lots  of  it.  They also have a lot of activities and some food venders.

I will be there on the Saturday volunteering at my usual security position.

It’s always a good opportunity to look over all the studies and smaller paintings done in the last year and see which ones still speak.  The images here are ones that I thought were interesting and I have for each of them added some finishing touches mainly using opaque watercolour.

Rex Beanland, Eamon's At Night, watercolour, 9 X 12

Rex Beanland, Eamon's Gathering, watercolour, 9 X 12

Rex Beanland, Leighton Barn, watercolour, 7.5 X 10Rex Beanland, Sibbald Ponds, watercolour, 9 X 12Rex Beanland, Spring Breaking Through, watercolour, 9 X 12























For information on the Leighton Centre and the Clothesline Sale visit their site.


Rex Beanland, Doorway, watercolour, 9 X 12








This is a painting that I use in my watercolour classes.  I hadn’t painted it for a while  so I was interested to see if I could add any new elements to it to keep it fresh.  I did 85 % of the painting in class last night.  I finished it off this morning.

A couple of things that came to mind during this process.

1) The first 85 % of the painting is about getting the big shapes, putting them into a pleasing composition and giving them the right value.  If this works then you know that your painting will work.

2) The last 15 % of the painting which includes adding details, unifying colours, adjusting values and adding accents and highlights can take as long as the first 85 %.  This part brings the painting to life.

Anyway, that’s how it happened with this painting.

When I look at it now I think it has a great sense of light and is very realistic while not being overly busy.  I can also see 2 things I would change next time. The first is to not have all the highlights in the green bushes at the bottom.  It looks like it’s being lit from below.  Secondly I think it still has too much pure white paper even though I reduced it to just to the right of the door.

Car Arches Detail


Rex Beanland, Car Arches Detail, watercolour








I posted a painting  a few days ago.  It’s a copy of a Joseph Zbukvic painting.  This particular image is a cropped section of the original painting showing just the centre of interest.  It’s just one of those happy accidents that the pattern of lights and darks in this image is so effective and attractive.  This section alone makes a lovely and successful composition.

Still Studying Alvaro Castagnet and Joseph Zbukvic



Rex Beanland, copy of Alvaro Castagnet, watercolour








Rex Beanland, copy of Joseph Zbukvic, watercoloujr










This is a continuation of yesterdays post.  The top study from the  Castagnet DVD and the bottom from Zbukvic’s.

Doing them has been a real jumpstart to a better understanding of value in watercolour.  I also like the fact that they both include people and cars in almost all their paintings.  As a drawing teacher that’s something I definitely appreciate because they add so much to a painting and they aren’t really that hard to draw after a little bit of practice.