Monthly Archives: October 2012

Elbow Creek Colours

This painting was actually  part of a large 18 X 24 work that, well . . . just didn’t.  But once again someone commented that this particular section of it is really nice.  So now it’s a successful 9 X 12 painting.  Cropping, which is another form of editing, can reveal little gems in the midst of muck.

This is a view of the little creek that runs into the Elbow River right at Elbow Falls.  I’ve used it as the theme for quite a few paintings.  I like the way the creek meanders into the woods.  It uses that lovely ‘Z’ pattern which is so enticing to the eye.

Rex Beanland, Elbow Creek Colours, watercolour, 9 X 12










Elbow Creek Colours
9 X 12

One Day Watercolour Workshop – Paintworks Art Studios & Supplies, Okotoks

Rex Beanland, Okotoks Montage, watercolour







It’s looking like my workshop in Okotoks is going to be a go.  I’m very inspired by watercolour at the moment and I’m looking forward to being able to pass it on.  The theme is going to be buildings, people and cars.  I hope you will be able to join us.

When:  Saturday, November 17, 9:30 – 4 pm
Where: Paintworks Art Studios & Supplies, Okotoks
To register contact Rani 

Leighton Centre – Christmas In The Country Sale


Rex Beanland, Ho Ho Ho, watercolour, 6 X 17

















I will be participating in the Christmas In The Country Sale this year, November 3-4
and November 9 – 11, 10 am – 4 pm.

I will have a number of versions of this particular Christmas image available at the sale.  Each little painting was a original portrait of my stuffed Santa.  Susan helped me put them together and I think they look so classy.  I will be volunteering at the show on Saturday, November 3.  Hope to see you there.


Acrylic Workshop In Turner Valley

Rex Beanland Acrylic Workshop

I had a wonderful time this past Saturday doing an acrylic workshop for the Sheep Creek Arts Council.  Wonderful people who make this little town such a lively place.  Very misty Saturday morning.

I think because of my 20 years as a public school teacher I love being involved in education.  To see the participants exciting be learning some new stuff is very gratifying.








I based my demo on one of my more popular images, “Big Red & His Buddy”.  This is the new version of that painting that I used as the basis of the workshop.

Rex Beanland, Big Red & His Buddy, acrylic, 18 X 24

Acrylic Workshop For Sheep Creek Arts Council – Fixing A Problem

I spent a very enjoyable day doing an acrylic workshop for the Sheep Creek Arts Council in Turner Valley.  I did a version of my truck painting  “Big Red”.


Rex Beanland, acrylic demo 18 X 24








This is how it looked when I got it home, I was happy with it but realized that the truck was a little small and it was definitely was too low.  It needed to be moved up about an inch.


Rex Beanland, acrylic demo 18 X 24








Here I’ve used gesso to white the truck out and raise it up.  The old bumper has been covered over with a dark stroke.


Rex Beanland, acrylic demo 18 X 24








Here is the new version of the truck with the dark for the shadows covering the truck.


Rex Beanland, acrylic demo 18 X 24








This is finished version of the painting at the same place I left it after the workshop.

I love the ability we have with acrylic to change things dramatically, at any time. Overall I’m happy with the painting.  I would just like to change the bright (almost white) highlights in the grass.  The don’t really fit in.  Of course this is really just the initial stage of the painting.  Even for the parts I worked on there is still the final detailing stage that really brings the painting to life.

Revisiting The Case For Experimenters

A few years ago I posted about an idea that had really caught my attention.  It came from a book by Malcolm Gladwell and it looked at 2 types of painters: those who just seem to know what to do, ie they ‘get it’ right away and those who need to work things out.  His example of the first type was Pablo Picasso who just burst onto the scene almost fully formed.  He knew exactly what he wanted to do and achieved a lot of success right off the bat.  The example of the second type was Paul Cezanne who struggled for years and years, practicing, failing, floundering but always learning and striving.  He didn’t achieve success until much later in his life.

The reason this analysis was so important to me is that it made me realize that I am an experimenter.  I have to  work things over and over until I figure them out.  It’s almost like I can’t visualize things until I see them on paper.  Then I notice that this part of the painting works and this other part doesn’t so I do it again making adjustments and then I notice new things.  However, if I do the work and keep at it eventually I do figure things out.

These images illustrate the case completely.










This is my original photo of a street corner in Charing Cross, London.  I liked the composition so I did a large 18 x 24 version.  There was no sun on the day I took the photo but I wanted a scene that had part of the buildings in sunlight.

Rex Beanland, Charing Cross, watercolour, 18 x 224










I quite liked it but the foreground was always confusing to me.  I also wasn’t happy with the effect of the sunlight so I did another 18 x 24 version.

Rex Beanland, Charing Cross, watercolour, 18 x 24










In this version I liked the cleanness of the sunlit parts of the building I also liked the suggested windows and doors at the bottom of the shadow part in the centre.  Unfortunately, I still found the foreground area not quite right.    In particular I began to see the car as a mistake.  Therefore I decided to suspend work on this painting.

Due to some positive response to this painting from my watercolour class I decided  to use this image as the next demo for the class.   I knew I would have to simplify it in order to teach it so I played with the buildings quite a bit. This next version was done 9 x 12 and the pressure was off.  I just did a quick sketch and the process of painting was much more playful.

Rex Beanland, Charing Cross, watercolour, 18 x 24










I liked a lot about this version but  found the tree on the left confusing (even though I like the technique I used).  I also noticed that the dark building on the right is too large.  It serves a useful purpose to lead the eye into the painting but it just takes up too much room.  I definitely prefer this version of the car.  I then tried it again to incorporate these changes.

Rex Beanland, Charing Cross, watercolour, 9 x 12










I liked this version better without the tree, the smaller dark building and a very loose interpretation of the left edge of the painting which again leads the eye toward the centre.  So, inspired by this version, I just set up my camera and made a video for class of me painting it again.

Rex Beanland, Charing Cross, watercolour, 9 12










This one I am quite happy with and I feel it is definitely a stronger composition and a stronger painting.  For me, however,  it would never have happened without all those preparatory steps and the insights gained through them.  Unfortunately, I still see things I would like to improve such as the contrast between the roof and the tower at the top centre.  Fortunately, I am working on a new 18 X 24 version so I have another chance to make changes.

In summary this process is a lot of work and sometimes I wish I didn’t need to do it this way but I do.   I’m just thankful that I have the desire to keep striving and growing because I’ve learned that when you do it always works out.

Historic Florida Building – A Repair Job

Rex Beanland, watercolour, Historic Florida Building Repair, 16 X 12

Rex Beanland, Historic Florida Building, watercolour, 16 X 12













This is the painting I did as a demo for my class last night.  After class as I was finishing it I made a huge mistake.  The point of the lesson was to create a more interesting and stronger centre of interest under the overhang.  I felt the darkish wash I used in class wasn’t dark enough so I put a second very dark wash on it and it became too dark, a muddy mess.  That is the one thing that is hard to correct.  I added lighter opaque colours with chinese white but it had no life.  So then it was a double mess.  Finally in desperation I scrubbed out the entire area.  This you can see in the top example.  I’ve left the original dark (with some lighter highlights) to the left of the pillar.

After this dried I then re-applied the darker washes.  This repair job will never have the freshness of that first wash but at least it saved the painting from being recycled.

Many people believe that watercolours can’t be corrected or changed and this is another example that disproves that.  Not a great ending but as they say, ‘it could have been worse’.

For those in class I also added a slightly darker wash to the lawn and the sky.  One nice touch was a light wash of cobalt teal in the top left corner.  Our goal is always to achieve what we want in that first magical wash. Often we fall short but even when we do we can learn so much.

Happy painting.

Santa Monica Pier

Rex Beanland, Santa Monica Pier








This painting is one of my recent works in acrylic which I’ve started doing again in preparation for my acrylic workshop on Oct 20.   The background was done in a style that I learned years ago from Jerry Yarnell who had a very interesting acrylic painting show on PBS.  The background creates an effect similar to watercolour with smooth blending  and no brushstrokes showing.  It is achieved by first wetting the canvas with water then coating it with gesso and using that to blend the colours.  It’s very effective for skys.  What I like about the acrylic version of this sky is the vivid colours that are possible.

Santa Monica Pier
acrylic on canvas
14 X 10

My Demonstration For ‘The Group’

Rex Beanland, Destination 19th St, NW, watercolour, 20 x 15








On September 11, 2012 I did a demo for The Group.  It was a very enjoyable evening.

When I got the painting home I felt that it needed quite a bit of work.  Overall I was happy with the massive scale I gave to the buildings and it definitely has a centre of interest.  The main issue I had with it was that on the right hand edge I just had a few branches (you can just see a couple of them) and it didn’t balance the painting.  So I added a much larger top-to-bottom dark shape and that made it much better.  The one thing I couldn’t easily correct was that the perspective of the painting didn’t seem to work with this new shape.  The vanishing point that is too far behind this new shape.  I think it would be more effective to have the vanishing point somewhere between the last car and the dark shape.   But aside from that I’m pleased with the result.

P.S.  If I were to do this painting again I would give it more colour variation.

Thanks to The Group for asking me.

Rex Beanland demonstrating for the group.